When you first start to develop postural back pain, it manifests itself as a low-grade ache normally combined with stiffness in your lower back. Symptoms tend to be relieved with light exercise or by avoiding long periods of sitting, for example at weekends. But if symptoms are ignored, the pain will become constant, just to varying degrees. The level of stiffness may also increase.
Occasionally symptoms may be related to conditions other than poor posture, for example, prolapsed disc, fracture, facet joint impingement or nerve root compression. You may experience any of the following symptoms:
- Pins and needles or numbness in the buttocks, lower limbs or feet
- Pain going down the back or front of your leg
- More severe back pain, especially when bending forward
- Excessive levels of stiffness in your lower back
These symptoms need to be properly assessed by an experienced Physiotherapist. They will diagnose the cause of your back pain and provide appropriate treatment, management and advice.
A very small percentage of back pain can be caused by more serious conditions like cauda equina, where the nerves at the bottom of your spinal cord are being compressed.
If anyone of the following symptoms are experiences, an immediate medical advice should be taken:
- Unsteady when standing or walking
- Difficulties passing or controlling bladder or bowels or numbness in either area
- If you have a previous history of cancer or osteoporosis
- Back pain accompanied by unexplained weight loss or fever