Exercise, yoga, physiotherapy and manual manipulation are not beneficial in all kinds of back pain. There are certain red flag signs that can indicate you to go for an expert consultation to your doctor instead of taking things in your own hands.

If you have any of the below signs or symptoms, please avoid exercise and seek expert help.


1. Back pain after substantial injury

Back pain after substantial injury
Back pain after substantial injury


Back pain after substantial injury like after a road traffic accident may be a sign of fracture, ligamentous injury, nerve compression, spinal cord compression or disc prolapse. Doing any kind of exercise or self manipulation can by very harmful and can lead to weakness in legs, loss of sensation and problems with controlling urine/ stools. Call for an ambulance and get the person transferred on a stretcher to hospital for further evaluation.



2. Back pain even after mild injury to back in those over 50 years old

Back pain even after mild injury to back in those over 50 years old
Back pain after mild injury in old
Even a mild injury after 50 years age can lead to a fracture or ligament injury. As osteoporosis and degenerative changes in spine are common at this age. So medical consultation should be taken even after a mild injury in individuals over 50 years of age. Self manipulation or any sort of exercise should not be tried by self.



3. Back pain along with neurological problem (Focal neurologic deficit) 


Back pain along with neurological problem
Back pain with Ankle Weakness


If along with back pain there is any of the symptoms below, do not do any exercise yourself and take an expert consultation:

  • Weakness of ankles, knees or hip (not able to wear slipper, difficulty in getting up from sitting posture)
  • Numbness (Not able to feel the touch)
  • Paraesthesia (pin prick or current like sensations)
  • Difficulty is passing urine and constipation



4. Back Pain with Leg Pain that increases on walking a small distance (Neural Claudication)


Back Pain with Leg Pain that increases on walking a small distance (Neural Claudication)
Back Pain with Leg Pain that increases on walking 

Back pain along with leg pain which increases on walking small distances is called neural claudication. This may be indicative of narrowing of the spinal canal leading to decreasing blood supply to the nerves which is called as Lumbar canal stenosis and doing indiscriminate exercise can do more harm than any good.


5. Back pain which is increasing and disabling


Back pain which is increasing and disabling
Back pain which is increasing and disabling

Back pain which is increasing day by day and is not letting you do most daily routine activities may be an ominous sign and requires medical attention. You should not continue self exercise or yoga and take expert help.


6. People having back pain with increasing weight loss and  evening rise of body temperature

back pain with increasing weight loss and  evening rise of body temperature
Back pain with weight loss and fever
Long standing back pain with weight loss and evening fever can be a sign of tuberculosis of the spine. Tuberculosis of the spine tends to weaken the bone, cause fractures and compress the spine and nerves. Thus starting exercise or yoga without proper evaluation can be very harmful.



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