What Research Is Being Done
The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge of the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.
As a primary supporter of research on pain and pain mechanisms, NINDS is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which was established to promote collaboration among the many NIH Institutes and Centers with research programs and activities addressing pain. On an even broader scale, NIH participates in the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates research across other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
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Diagnosing And Treating Disc Problems
MRI tests can be helpful to diagnose disc herniation. X-rays, on the other hand, will typically be normal.
Disc herniations can usually be managed without surgery. However, children and adolescents with severe pain or signs of nerve injury may benefit from surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve.
What Organs Can Cause Mid Back Pain
Middle back pain can be caused by internal organs, such as the colon or the kidneys. Patients may experience back pain when a stone moves through the thin tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder. If you have a history of kidney stones, you may be more likely to have pain in your lower back, especially if you are overweight or obese. You may also be at higher risk of developing a kidney stone.
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How Long Is Too Long To Suffer From Back Pain
Nothing makes a long day even longer than having to deal with back pain. If youâre suffering from lower back pain, even simple tasks like picking up a bag of groceries can feel overwhelming.
Whatâs more, the cause of your lower back pain may be more complicated than the actual twisting or lifting that brought it on in the first place and preventing future pain means getting to the source of what caused it.
âIf you wait to do something about lower back pain until itâs become debilitating, youâve waited too long,â says Dr. Hosun Hwang, spine specialist at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital. âMost peopleâs back pain dissipates in about a week or two, but if your pain is long-term or chronic, itâs time to see a spine specialist.â
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You’re Running A Fever
The flu can definitely make you run a fever and achiness, including in your back. However, if the fever is unresponsive to standard OTC medications, you could have a serious infection that needs treatment immediately. If you go to a doctor and they find an infection, they may prescribe antibiotics and a few days rest.
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Urgent Advice: Ask For An Urgent Gp Appointment Or Get Help From 111 If:
You have back pain and:
- a high temperature
- you’ve lost weight without trying to
- there’s a lump or swelling in your back or your back has changed shape
- the pain does not improve after resting or is worse at night
- the pain is made worse when sneezing, coughing or pooing
- the pain is coming from the top of your back , rather than your lower back
Other Conditions That Cause Back Pain In Older Adults
We often see a range of less serious but still painful spine conditions in seniors. Most patients with these conditions will not require surgery. Physical therapy, medication, injectable anesthetics, or a combination of treatments usually can control symptoms.
- Degenerative disc disease, which can cause whole spine pain, and lumbar arthritis, which usually causes low-back pain, commonly develop with age and are considered wear-and-tear conditions.
- Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of the joints that connect your spine and pelvis. This condition can cause pain in the low back, glutes, and upper legs.
- Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis that causes patients spines to become inflexible, resulting in a continual hunched forward position and spine pain.
- We also check for adult degenerative scoliosis and kyphosis, spine-curving conditions that can result in back pain and weakness in the lower extremities.
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Sensations That Might Indicate A Medical Emergency
1. Sharp pain rather than a dull ache: This could indicate a torn muscle or ligament, or a problem with an internal organ in the back or side.2. Radiating pain: This pain “moves” or shoots to the glutes or legs, which could indicate a nerve compression condition.
3. Sudden weakness in the legs: Limb weakness can be caused by compressed nerves in the spine due to conditions like sciatica or spinal stenosis. However, sudden leg weakness could also indicate a stroke.4. Incontinence: Back pain paired with inability to control the bowels or bladder might be a sign of serious nerve compression or a spine infection, such as discitis or meningitis.5. Numbness or pins and needles in the groin or glutes: This is known as saddle anesthesia and is also a sign of a serious nerve or spine condition.
If you have leg weakness, incontinence, and numbness together, you might have cauda equina syndrome, a serious illness characterized by spinal cord nerve damage. This is a medical emergency, and patients usually need surgery immediately to decompress the nerves and reduce permanent damage.
Related reading: Get help for back, neck, and leg pain caused by spinal stenosis
Other Reading On Painsciencecom About Back Pain
- 6 Main Causes of Morning Back Pain Why is back pain worst first thing in the morning, and what can you do about it?
- 35 Surprising Causes of Pain Trying to understand pain when there is no obvious explanation.
- Dont Worry About Lifting Technique The importance of lift with your legs, not your back to prevent back pain has been exaggerated.
- Chronic Low Back Pain Is Not So Chronic The prognosis for chronic low back pain is better than most people realize especially for Australians in Australia!
- Spinal Subluxation Can your spine be out of alignment? Chiropractics big idea has been misleading patients for more than a century.
- Back Pain & Trigger Points A quick introduction to the role of trigger points in back pain
And the big one
- The Complete Guide to Low Back Pain Everything on one mighty page: an extremely detailed guide to the myths, controversies, the nature of the beast and the highlight dozens of detailed, evidence-based reviews of treatment and therapy options. This huge tutorial also focusses on a topic I think is neglected: the role of muscle in back pain.
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Chronic Low Back Pain Is Serious But Rarely Ominous
Back pain can suck the joy out of your days for week, months, even years. It can definitely be serious even when its not dangerous. I have worked with many truly miserable chronic low back pain patients, and of course the huge economic costs of back pain are cited practically anywhere the subject comes up. But your typical case of chronic low back pain, as nasty as it can be, has never killed anyone.
Ominous is medical jargon for truly scary. Cue Jaws theme music. Low back pain is ominous when it is caused by something that can cripple or kill you. Such causes are rare, fortunately. But awful things do happen, even the best doctors can miss them .
Ordinary back pain can be fierce & awful but not dangerous. Its bark is almost always much louder than its bite.
Signs Your Back Pain Might Be An Emergency
In our 20s and 30s, normal back pain often can be attributed to factors of daily life, such as sitting too long, picking up children, or overdoing it while exercising.
In our 40s and older, work injuries and the beginnings of arthritis and degenerative conditions are more common.
Back pain is so common, in fact, that many patients shrug off symptoms that might indicate a medical emergency.
Approximately 80% of adults will experience back pain in their lives, so its important to be able to identify the severity of your symptoms and track how long the pain lasts.
If back pain can be associated with a specific activity, such as lifting or twisting wrong, and the pain goes away within 72 hours after resting and applying ice, its usually nothing to worry about. However, if pain creeps on gradually, appears suddenly, or doesn’t go away, you might have a more serious condition.
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How Can I Tell If My Back Pain Is Kidney Related
Kidney pain is felt higher and deeper in your body than back pain. You can feel it in the upper half of your back. Its felt on one side or the other under your rib cage. It can be caused by a number of things, but the most common cause is a problem with your kidneys.
If you have kidney disease, youre more likely to develop kidney problems than if you dont have the disease. Kidney disease can affect your blood pressure, blood sugar, and your ability to control your urine. Your kidneys can also be affected by certain medications, such as diuretics and anti-hypertensives. These medications can cause kidney damage, which can lead to kidney failure.
Complete Guide To Low Back Pain
This article might ease your mind, but what about your back pain? If your pain is becoming chronic , or if you just keep having flare-ups, you may want to dive much deeper into the topic. There arent any easy answers for stubborn back pain, but there is evidence-based hope, and the PainScience.com back pain tutorial explores the topic extremely thoroughly. The main text is written for patients, but its also extensively referenced for keen readers and healthcare professionals.
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Can Intestinal Inflammation Cause Back Pain
Inflammatory bowel disease , which includes Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis, sometimes overlaps with chronic back pain, including axial spondyloarthritis an inflammatory form of arthritis.
What does it mean when your back and stomach hurts at the same time?
Back pain and nausea can often occur together. Sometimes, the pain of a stomach issue can radiate to the back. Vomiting can also cause pain and tension in the back. Pain that radiates from the stomach to the back may signal a problem with an organ such as the liver or kidneys.
Can Lower Back Pain Be A Sign Of Something Serious Like Cancer
Lower back pain can be related to cancer. In fact, it is one of the first symptoms of prostate cancer when it metastasizes and creates lesions. Almost any cancer can spread to the back and some, like sarcoma, can originate in the back. Be cautious, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms besides lower back pain. Talk to your doctor if you have additional symptoms or concerns.
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Can Tight Hips Affect Your Lower Back
Muscle imbalances in the hip, such as tight hip flexors, can cause low back pain or at least contribute to it. When the hip flexor muscles are too tight, is causes what is known as an anterior pelvic tilt. In other words, the muscles cause an anterior pull on the pelvis. This affect posture and throws the entire lower body out of alignment.
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Which Foods Cause Back Pain
Trigger foods vary from person to person, but common culprits include:
What organ makes your back hurt?
Kidneys help remove liquid waste from the body. When urine contains a lot of chemical substances more than what the urine can dilute kidney stones can form, and they can cause a sharp pain in the side and the lower back region.
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Fevers Chills And Weight
Patients with a spinal infection usually have localized pain, worse when they are bearing weight or engaged in activity. Pain can be intense, and may be relieved only by laying down. Fever, chills, headache and generalized illness are usually present, but even with advanced infection these symptoms may be subtle or overlooked for some time. If, however, you’ve noticed that you are losing weight, experiencing fatigue and have had fevers, chills or night sweats in addition to your back pain, you should bring this to the attention of your doctor. Severe pain may be caused by simply sitting up or changing positions. If the vertebra is weakened by infection it may collapse, and a deformity may be detected.
Spinal infections usually start somewhere else, and the most frequent causes are urinary tract infections, dental abscesses, pneumonia or any chronic wound. Back pain that starts up while you are being treated for one of these problems deserves a careful look.
Neurological signs should be carefully sought. Patients who initially complain of focal spine pain, followed by progressive radicular pain, weakness and incipient paralysis may have infection within the canal, with development of an epidural abscess.
Your Doctor May Want To Order Some Studies:
Diagnostic Studies: Depending on the most likely concern, your doctor may order any of a number of basic laboratory studies to detect anemia, inflammation, and elevated levels of proteins or markers in your system. Urinalysis may reveal blood, bacteria or reveal a renal stone.
In infections, specific tests can reveal the presence of infectious agents before the actual source is revealed. A TB skin test should be placed, if you have traveled anywhere that that disease is common, or have simply been around someone who has had the disease.
X-rays and Imaging: Some problems are only visualized on x-rays when significant bone destruction has occurred. A bone scan may be necessary to identify fractures, infections or tumors in their earliest phase. More often, MRI can screen the whole spine, and shows the soft tissue elements inside and outside the spinal column.
However, among patients with a recent osteoporotic spine fracture, x-rays are the best way to quickly and accurately detect a new fracture and determine how much collapse has occurred.
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Concerned About Your Back Pain Symptoms We Can Help
Most back pain goes away on its own. But if your back pain has been lingering for more than two weeks without improvement, its been coming and going for some time, or if youre experiencing any alarming symptoms, dont delay the care you need. After all, its much easier to take care of yourself when you can move without pain.
Think TRIA Neck and Back Strengthening Program may be right for you? Schedule a consultation.
Not ready for an intensive physical therapy program? Start with physical therapy.
Potential Signs It Could Be Something Serious
Most upper back pain typically resolves in a few weeks with treatment at home, including stretching, taking pain relievers, applying heat or ice, or moderating certain activities that may cause back strain.
Upper back pain can even get better on its own.
However, a serious injury to the upper back can damage the spinal cord and cause paralysis in the body below the injury.
Additionally, upper back pain may be a warning sign of a severe medical condition.
If you experience any of the following symptoms with upper back pain, talk to a healthcare provider:
- Pain, tingling, or numbness in the arms and legs: If back pain back pain radiates from your back to your leg, this could be a sign of sciatica. These symptoms in the arms and legs could also be a sign of a herniated disc.
- Fever without flu-like symptoms:Upper back pain associated with shortness of breath and fever could indicate a spinal infection.
- Unexplained weight loss: If youre losing weight without changes to your diet or lifestyle while experiencing upper back pain, it could be the result of a tumor or infection.
- Shortness of breath and chest pain: Experiencing these symptoms along with upper back pain could be signs of a heart attack. Shortness of breath and chest pain could also signify a rib injury or a problem in the lungs.
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Get Help For Your Back Pain
While this all may sound dire, you can take comfort in knowing that upwards of 90% of low back pain presentations in the ER are benign, according to findings. The important thing is to stay as calm as you can as you assess your pain and symptoms and rely on medical experts to assist you and get down to the bottom of why youre feeling the way you are.
Dr. Drymalski emphasizes, Remember that back pain is very common and the vast majority of the time it will be self-limiting and benign. If you are concerned or have red-flag symptoms, emergent evaluation may be necessary. It is important to always tell your doctor all of your symptoms, even if you dont know if they are related to your back pain, so your doctor can develop the most appropriate workup and treatment plan for you.