What Causes Lower Back Pain
Many injuries, conditions and diseases can cause lower back pain. They include:
- Strains and sprains: Back strains and sprains are the most common cause of back pain. You can injure muscles, tendons or ligaments by lifting something too heavy or not lifting safely. Some people strain their back by sneezing, coughing, twisting or bending over.
- Fractures: The bones in the spine can break during an accident, like a car crash or a fall. Certain conditions increase the risk of fractures.
- Disk problems: Disks cushion the vertebrae . Disks can bulge from their position in the spine and press on a nerve. They can also tear . With age, disks can get flatter and offer less protection .
- Structural problems: A condition called spinal stenosis happens when the spinal column is too narrow for the spinal cord. Something pinching the spinal cord can cause severe sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain. Scoliosis can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain. Ankylosing spondylitis causes lower back pain, inflammation and stiffness in the spine.
- Disease:Spine tumors, infections and several types of cancer can cause back pain. Other conditions can cause back pain, too. These include kidney stones and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
- Spondylolisthesis: This condition causes the vertebrae in the spine to slip out of place. Spondylolisthesis leads to low back pain and often leg pain as well.
This Is How To Tell If Your Back Pain Is Covid Doctors Say
There are numerous symptoms that could point to a COVID case, but some are more talked about than others. Common symptoms include cough, fever, and shortness of breath, but patients have also complained about more unusual symptoms, including rashes and eye pain. Recently, Ellen DeGeneres said she experienced a COVID symptom she doesn’t think is talked about enough: back pain. Of course, back pain is a very common phenomenon, but there are some telltale signs that can help you determine if what you’re experiencing is a coronavirus symptom. Keep reading to find out how to tell if your back pain is COVID, and for more symptoms you may be unsure about, This Is How to Tell If Your Upset Stomach Is COVID, Doctors Say.
You’re Having Problems With Your Bowels Or Urination
If your back pain is paired with a loss of control over your bowels or urination, then it’s time to seek help immediately at a . These symptoms point to cauda equina syndrome, where the nerves in the lower spine have become paralyzed. While rare, this syndrome can be permanently damaging to the nerves if left untreated. If you experience these symptoms, especially accompanied by numbness in the legs, then you may need surgery to decompress the nerves and preserve their overall function.
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Range Of Lower Back Pain Symptoms
Low back pain can incorporate a wide variety of symptoms. It can be mild and merely annoying or it can be severe and debilitating. Low back pain may start suddenly, or it could start slowlypossibly coming and goingand gradually get worse over time.
Depending on the underlying cause of the pain, symptoms can be experienced in a variety of ways. For example:
- Pain that is dull or achy, contained to the low back
- Stinging, burning pain that moves from the low back to the backs of the thighs, sometimes into the lower legs or feet can include numbness or tingling
- Muscle spasms and tightness in the low back, pelvis, and hips
- Pain that worsens after prolonged sitting or standing
- Difficulty standing up straight, walking, or going from standing to sitting
In addition, symptoms of lower back pain are usually described by type of onset and duration:
Loss Of Bladder Or Bowel Control
“When you can’t empty your bladder or you can’t go to the bathroom, those are urgent things that require immediate medical attention, Kelley says.
Bladder or bowel incontinence may be signs of nerve compression caused by a ruptured disk. If left untreated, nerve compression can lead to permanent neurological damage.
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Signs Your Back Pain May Be Something More Serious
Back pain is a common problem, affecting 80 percent of people at some point in their lives. But not everyone’s discomfort is the same and some signs and symptoms are more troubling than others.
Garden-variety back pain is often the result of a strain, which occurs when muscles or tendons in the back are overworked. Such small injuries account for a majority of cases of back-related discomfort.
Back pain that’s severe or persists for several weeks, on the other hand, should be evaluated by a doctor. Wayne Kelley, MD, a spine surgeon in Macon, Georgia, notes that back pain that crops up with other symptoms such as bowel or bladder problems or progressive neurological changes, like sudden or severe headaches or vision problems also require immediate attention.
Here, Dr. Kelley offers his expert insights on which types of back pain and related symptoms may be indicators of significant spinal conditions that require medical attention.
Can Lower Back Pain Be Related To Weather
If you feel like your lower back pain worsens on days when its cold or the weather is changing, you are not imagining things. Back pain can indeed be related to barometric pressure and outdoor temperature. Changes in pressure can sometimes cause pain in arthritic joints, including the spine. Muscles and joints in general react to the environment, which can make them stiffer and more likely to suffer an injury.
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What Should I Know About Back Pain
Back pain is a very common problem and will affect many of us at some point during our lives.
The good news is that in most cases it isnt a serious problem, and it might just be caused by a simple strain to a muscle or ligament.
As far as possible, its best to continue with your normal everyday activities as soon as you can and to keep moving.
Being active and exercising wont make your back pain worse, even if you have a bit of pain and discomfort at first. Staying active will help you get better. Taking painkillers can help you do this.
When You Might Need Back Surgery
If nonsurgical treatments dont work, or if you are dealing with extreme pain or a spine-related medical emergency , you may need minimally invasive or traditional open surgery.
Minimally invasive spine surgery, which uses small incisions and tools to treat mild to moderate spine conditions, can effectively stabilize your spine and address the problem causing your pain. It also reduces the risk of infection and recovery time.
Many minimally invasive procedures use an endoscope a small, lighted tube with a camera in its tip to enter the spine with less damage to the surrounding skin and muscle. Back problems that often can be treated with minimally invasive surgery include:
- Herniated discs: We may be able to remove just the damaged part through a small tube .
- Spinal stenosis : Removing bone and tissue that crowds nerves to increase the space between.
- Scoliosis : Using small incisions to fuse affected areas of the spine together to straighten it.
- Spinal fractures : Options include using a small balloon to inflate the vertebrae parts to their original place and using bone cement, a body-safe adhesive, to help with back pain from the fracture.
- Spondylolisthesis : Using small incisions to fuse affected areas of the spine together to keep vertebrae in their proper spaces.
- Small spinal column tumors: Removing just the tumor and nearby affected tissue using small incisions.
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Types Of Low Back Pain
There are many ways to categorize low back pain two common types include:
- Mechanical pain. By far the most common cause of lower back pain, mechanical pain is pain primarily from the muscles, ligaments, joints , or bones in and around the spine. This type of pain tends to be localized to the lower back, buttocks, and sometimes the top of the legs. It is usually influenced by loading the spine and may feel different based on motion , activity, standing, sitting, or resting.
- Radicular pain. This type of pain can occur if a spinal nerve root becomes impinged or inflamed. Radicular pain may follow a nerve root pattern or dermatome down into the buttock and/or leg. Its specific sensation is sharp, electric, burning-type pain and can be associated with numbness or weakness . It is typically felt on only one side of the body.
There are many additional sources of pain, including claudication pain myelopathic pain, neuropathic pain, deformity, tumors, infections, pain from inflammatory conditions , and pain that originates from another part of the body and presents in the lower back .
It is also possible for low back pain to develop with no definitive cause. When this happens, the primary focus is on treating the symptoms and the patients overall health.
Lower Back Pain Causes
Nonspecific low back pain means that the pain is not due to any specific or underlying disease that can be found. It is thought that in some cases the cause may be an over-stretch of a ligament or muscle. In other cases the cause may be a minor problem with a disc between two spinal bones , or a minor problem with a small facet joint between two vertebrae. There may be other minor problems in the structures and tissues of the lower back that result in pain. However, these causes of the pain are impossible to prove by tests. Therefore, it is usually impossible for a doctor to say exactly where the pain is coming from, or exactly what is causing the pain.
To some people, not knowing the exact cause of the pain is unsettling. However, looked at another way, many people find it reassuring to know that the diagnosis is nonspecific back pain which means there is no serious problem or disease of the back or spine.
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Possible Conditions Causing Severe Back Pain
Dr. Drymalski also details several conditions that can cause intense back pain, many of which center on the bones or discs. But you also might be wondering, How do I know if my back pain is kidney-related? Problems with what other organs can cause lower back pain?
He shares a wide-ranging list of potential conditions that can bring about extreme back pain:
Although that list of possible conditions may seem daunting, the important thing to do is to focus on your symptoms and how youre feeling. Also, be sure to consider any symptoms that youre experiencing beyond back pain.
Pay attention to severe back pain and other symptoms that appear with it.
Pay attention to the other symptoms in addition to your back pain, especially your bowel/bladder function and leg function, Dr. Drymalski says.
He adds that if you demonstrate any of the above red flag symptoms, if your pain persists and does not appear to be related to movement, or if you have a history of cancer, recent IV drug use, or a vascular disease, you may be at increased risk for serious back conditions.
Stiffness In The Morning
Its not always easy to get out of bed, but excessive morning back pain and stiffness could be a sign of spinal arthritis. Most types of arthritis including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis cause pain and stiffness that worsen toward the end of the day and after periods of rest, like a night’s sleep.
Any part of the spine can become arthritic, but the lower back , is most commonly affected. Thankfully, there are ways to manage the condition. Once diagnosed using a physical exam and x-ray imaging, spinal arthritis can be treated with pain medication and physical therapy. Surgery is needed in rare cases.
Protect yourself before it’s too late. Getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight, practicing good posture and doing your best to avoid spinal injury all decrease your risk for spinal arthritis and other back-related issues.
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How Your Back Works
The spine, which is also called the backbone or spinal column, is one of the strongest parts of the body and gives us a great deal of flexibility and strength.
Its made up of 24 bones, known as vertebrae, one sitting on top of the other. These bones have discs in between and lots of strong ligaments and muscles around them for support. There are also the bones in the tailbone at the bottom of the back, which are fused together and have no discs in between.
On either side of the spine, running from top to bottom, are many small joints called the facet joints.
The spinal cord passes inside the vertebrae, which protect it.
The spinal cord connects to the brain through the base of the skull and to the rest of the body by nerves that pass through spaces between the bones of the spine. These nerves are also known as nerve roots.
As you grow older, the structures of your spine, such as the joints, discs and ligaments, age as well. The structures remain strong but its usual for your back to get stiffer as you get older.
Low Back Pain Symptoms And Signs
Pain in the lumbosacral area is the primary symptom of low back pain.
- The pain may radiate down the front, side, or back of your leg, or it may be confined to the low back.
- The pain may become worse with activity.
- Occasionally, the pain may be worse at night or with prolonged sitting such as on a long car trip.
- You may have numbness or weakness in the part of the leg that receives its nerve supply from a compressed nerve.
- This can cause an inability to plantar flex the foot. This means you would be unable to stand on your toes or bring your foot downward. This occurs when the first sacral nerve is compressed or injured.
- Another example would be the inability to raise your big toe upward. This results when the fifth lumbar nerve is compromised.
You Have A Painful Dry Cough
The one common symptom you should really look out for to determine if you have the coronavirus is a dry cough. That’s because, according to Poston, the back pain one experiences during COVID is usually a result of their cough.
“Coughing can cause rib and diaphragm pain, which frequently radiates to the back,” she explains. And for more on your cough, This Is How to Tell If Your Cough Is COVID, Doctors Say.
Chronic Back Pain: Long
Chronic back pain, on the other hand, can be serious. Chronic pain is serious because the symptoms are strong enough to impact your health, mobility and quality of life for an extended period of time.
While chronic back pain can come on suddenly, it usually builds gradually and lasts more than six weeks. Chronic back pain can also be recurrent, meaning itll go away at times but regularly come back.
What causes chronic back pain? Chronic pain can be triggered by a new injury, but underlying conditions are usually the real cause. Muscle deconditioning is one of the most common contributors.
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Can Inflammatory Breast Cancer Cause Back Pain
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What is the first sign of inflammatory breast cancer?
Early IBC symptoms may include persistent itching and the appearance of a rash or small irritation similar to an insect bite. The breast typically becomes red, swollen, and warm. The skin may appear pitted like an orange peel, and nipple changes such as inversion, flattening, or dimpling may occur.
Lower Right Back Pain Symptoms
The back provides both strength and stability to the entire body, leaving it vulnerable to many kinds of injury. It’s possible for even severe back pain to be confined to just one side of the back. When the pain is entirely on the lower right side, it may suggest a specific type of injury or illness, and it’s important to have it examined. Low back pain is also called lumbago or sciatica.
Understanding The Lower Back
The lower back is also called the lumbosacral area of the back. It is the part of the back between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the legs.
Most of the lower back is made up from muscles that attach to, and surround, the spine. The spine is made up of many bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are roughly circular and between each vertebra is a disc. The discs between the vertebrae are a combination of a strong fibrous outer layer and a softer, gel-like centre. The discs act as shock absorbers and allow the spine to be flexible.
Common Causes Of Chronic Lower Back Pain
“Chronic lower back pain is less likely to be caused by injury to your muscles and ligaments and more likely to be due to issues with the lumbar disks, nerves, joints or vertebrae,” says Dr. Palmer. “There are several potential causes of chronic pain in the lower back.”
In general, osteoarthritis and degenerative disk disease are the underlying cause of many types of chronic lower back pain. However, lower back pain can also be caused by accident-related trauma and acute stress.
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