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When should you call your doctor about loss of bladder or bowel control due to back pain?

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If you have back pain and suddenly can’t control your bladder or bowels, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of several things, like spinal tumors or cauda equina syndrome, a rare but serious condition caused by a severe compression of the nerve roots in the spine. It could also signal lumbar spinal stenosis, which causes compression of the nerves in the lower back.

SOURCES:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Low Back Pain Fact Sheet.”

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Back Pain.”

American Association of Neurological Surgeons: “Herniated Disc,” Low Back Strain and Sprain,” “Osteoarthritis,” “Spinal Infections,” “Spinal Tumors,” “Cauda Equina Syndrome,” “Lumbar Spinal Stenosis.”

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “What Is Back Pain?”

North American Spine Society: “Chronic Low Back Pain.”

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Sciatica.”

American Cancer Society: “Signs and Symptoms of Cancer: What Are the Signs and Symptoms?”

Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein on October 10, 2016

SOURCES:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Low Back Pain Fact Sheet.”

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Back Pain.”

American Association of Neurological Surgeons: “Herniated Disc,” Low Back Strain and Sprain,” “Osteoarthritis,” “Spinal Infections,” “Spinal Tumors,” “Cauda Equina Syndrome,” “Lumbar Spinal Stenosis.”

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “What Is Back Pain?”

North American Spine Society: “Chronic Low Back Pain.”

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Sciatica.”

American Cancer Society: “Signs and Symptoms of Cancer: What Are the Signs and Symptoms?”

Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein on October 10, 2016

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