Just over 60 percent of the population will have or have had low back pain within the last year. Of these patients, up to 90 percent have so-called non-specific low back pain.
Back pain is a symptom, not a disease – and something that does not require an X-ray, says senior physician Mikael Sandström.
– In the vast majority of cases it is not dangerous, but there are conditions when it is more serious, he says in Nyhetsmorgon.
Risk of metastasis
Just over 10 percent of everyone who has pain has an anatomically specific low back pain, such as a fracture, herniated disc, inflammatory process or cancer. And there are several glaring warning signs to look out for.
– If you have a known disease, for example prostate cancer, and you get a new back pain of a non-specific nature. Then you should move on. The risk, in a few percent of cases, is that it may be a metastasis, that the cancer spreads from its original site to the skeleton.
Other warning signs are if you have been exposed to physical trauma, when you sat down hard or hit something on the head. Then back pain can be a so-called vertebral compression. If you suffer from infection, fever, severe morning stiffness, reduced sensation in the legs or severe weight loss, it is also time to seek medical care.
– If you are over 65, feel decent and suddenly start losing weight. That must be investigated. Then you have to look up and see things in the big perspective. It could be something else, says Doctor Mikael Sandström.
Keep an eye on the bladder
Another warning sign in connection with lower back pain is an affected bladder.
– If you have neurological problems, then of course it is also serious. If you have difficulty urinating, for example. Then there is pressure on the nerves in the lower region, which means that you either lose sensation, become muscle weak or have difficulty urinating. Then the bladder becomes large and breaks or becomes flaccid, and then you will become incontinent in the long run.
If, after an X-ray, no metastases or any other fault is found, and it is just a simple back shot, in the short term, you get relief from paracetamol or other anti-inflammatory drugs.
“The best workout”
In the long term, it’s only about physical activity, as soon as possible after the pain has subsided, explains Mikael Sandström.
– The best training, by far, is the one that ends. Is there a big difference in exercises? It can quickly be shown with statistical significance that it doesn’t make that much of a difference. As caregivers, we need to ask what exercises you can think of doing and not send you somewhere else, where you ask them to come up with something for you. We must activate ourselves.