back pain

What are the warning signs of a serious problem when you have back pain?

Pain that travels down the leg is a sign of a serious problem.

Also, if you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention:

  • difficulty controlling or passing urine,
  • loss of control of your bowels,
  • numbness around your back passage or your genitals,
  • a serious weakness in your legs so you find standing difficult, and
  • severe and ongoing back pain that gets worse over several weeks.

The above symptoms could potentially be linked to a rare but serious condition that needs urgent medical attention.



Coccydynia is the inflammation localised to the tail bone (coccyx). Symptoms and signs of coccydynia include focal pain & tenderness of the tail bone. The pain is usually dull and achy. An injury to the coccyx is the major risk factor for coccydynia.

In some cases, the pain will improve over few weeks or months, but occasionally it can last much longer and severely affect your ability to carry out everyday activities.

See your doctor if:

  • the pain does not start to improve within few weeks
  • home treatments do not relieve the pain
  • the pain is severe
  • you also have bleeding, a high temperature or pain is moving away from your coccyx

Your doctor will carry out an examination to check for more serious causes of your pain, such as infection or a fracture.

In some cases, your doctor may refer you for tests such as xray or MRI scan.