Nighttime Back Pain
Can Nocturnal Back Pain Be a Sign of Something Serious? continued...
Nocturnal back pain is also a symptom of spinal bone infection (osteomyelitis) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a condition that can cause the spine to fuse in a fixed, immobile position.
Other "red flags" include:
- Back pain that spreads down one or both legs
- Weakness, numbness, or tingling in legs
- New problems with bowel or bladder control
- Pain or throbbing in your abdomen
- Spots warm to the touch
- Unexplained weight loss
- History of cancer
- History of a suppressed immune system
- History of trauma
If one or more of these symptoms accompanies back pain -- especially if you have a history of cancer -- contact your doctor for further evaluation. It's also important to call the doctor if your back pain is the result of a recent injury.
It's important to note that it's rare that nighttime back pain is caused by a tumor, infection, or AS. In the study in the U.K., for instance, no serious spinal disease was found in any of the participants who had nighttime back pain. And in another study, only 0.66% of patients (less than one in 100) being evaluated for lower back pain in a primary care setting were found to have cancer.