1. You had major trauma to your back (fall, car accident, lifting injury).
2. You are under age 20 and have back pain without a known cause.
3. Your back pain does not change or improve with any position (sitting, lying, standing, walking).
4. You have had cancer in the past and now have unexplained back pain.
5. You have significant, unexplained weight loss in a short period of time.
6. You have weakness in one or both legs, in addition to your back pain.
7. You have difficulty urinating, urinary incontinence or urinate more frequently than usual.
8. You have noticed some lack of bowel control or incontinence.
9. You have numbness in the genital/anus/perineum areas.
10. Your back pain is worse at night than during the day.
11. Your back pain is accompanied by fever and weakness.
If you have any of these symptoms presently and/or they began at the same time as your back pain, see your physician today!
Reference: MVA, motor vehicle accident. From Waddell G: The Back Pain Revolution. NY: Churchill Livingstone, 1998.