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.
Other Types Of Diagnosis
- A chiropractor will diagnose through touch, or palpation, and a visual examination. Chiropractic is known as a direct approach, with a strong focus on adjusting the spinal joints. A chiropractor may also want to see the results of imaging scans and any blood and urine tests.
- An osteopath also diagnoses through palpation and visual inspection. Osteopathy involves slow and rhythmic stretching, known as mobilization, pressure or indirect techniques, and manipulation of joints and muscles.
- A physical therapist focuses on diagnosing problems in the joints and soft tissues of the body.
Inflammatory Lower Back Pain
Although comparatively few patients have low back pain due to a systemic inflammatory condition, the problem can be life long and can impair function significantly. The good news is that treatments can help essentially all patients, and can lead to major improvements.
Seronegative spondyloarthropathies are a group of inflammatory diseases that begin at a young age, with gradual onset. Like other inflammatory joint diseases, they are associated with morning stiffness that gets better with exercise. Sometimes fusion of vertebrae in the cervical or lumbar regions of the spine occurs. Drugs called TNF-alpha blocking agents, which are used for rheumatoid arthritis, are also used to treat the stiffness, pain, and swelling of spondyloarthropathy, when the cases are severe and not responsive to traditional medications
People who have spondyloarthropathy have stiffness that is generally worst in the morning, and have decreased motion of the spine. They also can have decreased ability to take a deep breath due to loss of motion of the chest wall. Its important for the physician to look for problems with chest wall expansion in patients with spondyloarthropathy.
syndrome is one of the forms of spondyloarthropathy. It is a form of arthritis that occurs in reaction to an infection somewhere in the body, and it carries its own set of signs and symptoms. The doctor will look for:
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Lower Back Pain: Causes And Treatment
Anyone who has experienced pain in their lower back knows just how cumbersome this symptom can be. Lower back pain can be a result of many different causes, from acquired injuries to rheumatic diseases. But regardless of whats causing it, pain in your lower back can make it difficult for you to perform your everyday activities and enjoy life.
Lower back pain is a common complaint in adults. This uncomfortable symptom has been estimated to affect approximately 80 per cent of people at some point in their lives, and it is the most common cause of job-related disability.
Fortunately, most lower back pain cases can be fully resolved with time and adequate treatment. There are also certain prevention techniques that lower the risk of your back pain coming back in the future.
Lets discuss some of the most common causes of lower back pain, its treatment, and what you can do to prevent it.
What Does Back Pain Due To Covid
If you have muscle pain paired with symptoms like a fever, dry cough, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, headache, or aches in other areas, it could be a sign of COVID-19. This form of back pain feels like cramping or spasming of the back muscles, Dr. Duda says.
COVID-19 is unique because it causes an increased inflammatory response in the lungs and brain, he says. That is why those with COVID-19 can have prolonged headaches for months after the virus has resolved and why people sometimes require oxygen or ventilatory support.
In general, the aches and pains you feel from COVID-19 feel much different than the soreness youd feel after, say, intense exercise. The pain from working out tends to go away after a few hours, but can persist for days with COVID-19, Dr. Watkins said.
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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.
Lack Of Physical Activity
Living a sedentary lifestyle leads to weak muscles, postural misalignments, and poor mobility. All of these symptoms contribute to lower back pain.
When your core, glutes, hips, and back muscles are weak, they fail to support your spine properly. This can lead to the misalignment of your spine and increase back issues.
If your job requires you to sit all day, you might be dealing with posture problems. If youre slouching your shoulders, arching your lower back, and protruding your neck, you might risk back problems.
Having tight upper back and shoulder muscles can pull your spine out of alignment. The same thing applies to tight muscles in your legs and glutes. This can pull on your lumbar spine and create a lumbar curve.
Try to take regular breaks from sitting all day and dedicate more time to physical activity throughout the week.
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Lower Back Pain May Be A Symptom Of The Omicron Variant
If you’re feeling new, unexplained pain in your back, it could be a sign of COVID. New data from the ZOE Covid Study App has revealed that lower back pain is one of the eight new symptoms of the Omicron variant, as reported by The Telegraph. This sign was first associated with the latest iteration of the virus early on by doctors in South Africa, who said they were seeing frequent instances of muscle aches that were manifesting as lower back pain in the Omicron patients they were treating, per The Washington Post.
Fractures And Lower Back Pain
are often very difficult pain problems and indicate the possible presence of . In patients with severe osteoporosis, spinal fractures can occur with no early warning and no significant trauma the patient does not have to fall to fracture a vertebrae.
Patients with spinal compression fractures experience spasms and, often, very high pain levels.
In patients with low back pain where the cause is difficult to determine, especially for elderly patients with osteoporosis, a fracture in the sacrum may be the cause of the pain. A standard X-ray or bone scan may not show a sacral fracture. Imaging techniques such as CT scan or MRI can often reveal these fractures.
It is very important that patients with acute lumbar compression fractures be tested for osteoporosis. A bone density study is needed, unless the patient has no other osteoporosis risk factors and has had a very high impact fracture. Studies have shown that many patients with fractures in the U.S. are discharged from hospitals with no plans for management of their bone density problems, which then are left to worsen.
Although pain can be very intense, it is best for patients with lumbar fracture to resume activity as soon as possible. This is especially true for elderly patients, who can too easily become weakened, and develop other complications, if mobility is reduced for too long. may be needed for pain control, for as brief a period as possible.
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How To Tell If Your Lower Back Pain Is Muscle
by Dr. Don DuffAug 20, 2019
The low back is a fairly complicated structure, so its no wonder the majority of peopleexperts estimate up to 80% of usexperience pain in this area of our bodies at some point in our lives. In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons for visits to the doctors office.
The key to relieving back pain is understanding the cause. But diagnosing the of a patients pain isnt always a straightforward exercise. It could be muscle, joint, or disc-related in some cases, it may even arise from issues unrelated to the back. So how can you tell if your back pain is muscle- or disc-related, or attributable to something else entirely? Well cover all the possibilities in this post.
What Causes Lumbar Strain
Injury can damage the tendons and muscles in the lower back. Pushing and pulling sports, such as weight lifting or football, can lead to a lumbar strain. In addition, sports that require sudden twisting of the lower back, such as in tennis, basketball, baseball, and golf, can lead to this injury.
Certain risk factors can increase the risk for this injury. The risk factors are:
- Severe lower back curvature
- Weak back or belly muscles
- Tight hamstrings
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Is It Back Pain Or Hip Pain Getting To The Root Of The Problem
If you have pain in your low back, hips, and other areas in your lower body, the source isnt always easy to pinpoint. Your pain may originate in your lumbar spine or your hipor bothand its important that your doctor identifies the source of the problem, so you receive the right treatment.
Because the hips and lower spine are located so closely together, its easy to mistake back pain for hip pain . Regardless of the origin, most low back pain and hip pain share a common cause: normal wear and tear on the body due to aging or triggered by overuse injuries . Lumbar sprains and strains, osteoarthritis, and herniated discs are common degenerative culprits behind low back and hip pain.Determining if pain is back or hip related can be difficult to distinguish because the lower back and hips are close to each other. Photo Source: 123RF.com.
Lower Back Pain And Cancer
Cancer involving the lumbar spine is not a common cause of back pain. However, in people who have a prior history of cancer, for example, in the breast or prostate, or who have weight loss or loss of appetite along with back pain cancer needs to be considered.
Night pain can be a clue to cancer in the spine. A benign tumor called osteoid osteoma, which most often affects young people, causes pain that tends to respond well to aspirin. Multiple myeloma is a malignancy that occurs when the plasma cells in the bone marrow begin spreading uncontrollably. It is most common in older people, and can cause pain in many parts of the spine. When tumor or infection are suspected, blood tests may be ordered, including a CBC , sedimentation rate , and protein electrophoresis .
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Complementary And Alternative Techniques Include:
- Acupuncture is moderately effective for chronic low back pain. It involves inserting thin needles into precise points throughout the body and stimulating them , which may cause the body to release naturally occurring painkilling chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin, and acetylcholine.
- Behavioral approaches include:
- Biofeedback involves attaching electrodes to the skin and using an electromyography machine that allows people to become aware of and control their breathing, muscle tension, heart rate, and skin temperature people regulate their response to pain by using relaxation techniques
- Cognitive therapy involves using relaxation and coping techniques to ease back pain
Spinal injections include:Trigger point injections can relax knotted muscles that may contribute to back pain. An injection or series of injections of a local anesthetic and often a corticosteroid drug into the trigger point can lessen or relieve pain.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Back pain after a severe blow or fall
- Burning with urination or blood in your urine
- History of cancer
- Loss of control over urine or stool
- Pain traveling down your legs below the knee
- Pain that is worse when you lie down or pain that wakes you up at night
- Redness or swelling on the back or spine
- Severe pain that does not allow you to get comfortable
- Unexplained fever with back pain
- Weakness or numbness in your buttocks, thigh, leg, or pelvis
Also call if:
- You have been losing weight unintentionally
- You use steroids or intravenous drugs
- You have had back pain before, but this episode is different and feels worse
- This episode of back pain has lasted longer than 4 weeks
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Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain
Sometimes a pain may develop immediately after you lift something heavy, or after an awkward twisting movement. Sometimes it can develop for no apparent reason. Some people just wake up one day with low back pain.
Although nonspecific back pain is sometimes called simple back pain, simple does not mean that the pain is mild. The severity of the pain can range from mild to severe. Typically, the pain is in one area of the lower back but sometimes it spreads to one or both buttocks or thighs. The pain is usually eased by lying down flat. It is often made worse if you move your back, cough, or sneeze. So, nonspecific low back pain is mechanical in the sense that it varies with posture or activity.
Most people with a bout of nonspecific low back pain improve quickly, usually within a week or so, sometimes a bit longer. However, once the pain has eased or gone it is common to have further bouts of pain from time to time in the future. Also, it is common to have minor pains on and off for quite some time after an initial bad bout of pain. In a small number of cases the pain persists for several months or longer. This is called chronic back pain .
How Is Lower Back Pain Diagnosed
Your provider will ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam. To check for broken bones or other damage, your provider may order imaging studies. These studies help your provider see clear pictures of your vertebrae, disks, muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Your provider may order:
- Spine X-ray, which uses radiation to produce images of bones.
- MRI, which uses a magnet and radio waves to create pictures of bones, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues.
- CT scan, which uses X-rays and a computer to create 3D images of bones and soft tissues.
Depending on the cause of pain, your provider may also order blood tests or urine tests. Blood tests can detect genetic markers for some conditions that cause back pain . Urine tests check for kidney stones, which cause pain in the flank .
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Lower Back Pain Caused By Infection
Infections of the spine are not common, but they do occur. The doctor will ask about the usual signs and symptoms of infection, especially when back pain is accompanied by fever and/or chills. Dialysis patients, IV drug users, and patients who have recently had surgery, trauma, or skin infections are at risk for infections of the spine. Infections of the spine can be caused by a number of agents, most commonly bacteria. Doctors will first test for the presence of bacteria, then give antibiotics.
Moderate Pain Occurs Off And On For A Few Weeks
Pain from a pulled muscle may come and go for a few weeks until tissues fully heal. You might notice increased pain from actions or movements that place extra stress on the affected muscle, such as standing or sitting in the same position for a prolonged period. You may also experience tenderness or stiffness around the affected area.
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Back Pain Culprit: Chronic Conditions
Several chronic conditions can lead to low back pain.
- Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, which can put pressure on the spinal nerves.
- Ankylosing spondylitis inflames the joints of the spine, and sometimes the shoulders, hips, ribs, and other areas too. It causes chronic back pain and stiffness. In serious cases, spinal vertebrae start to fuse .
- Fibromyalgia causes widespread muscle aches, including back pain.
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NEWSLETTER Health& Wellness
ARE YOU EXPERIENCING LOWER BACK PAIN?
INSIDE: How Can I Tell If My Neck Is Causing My Back Pain? Healthy Recipe Patient Success Spotlight FREE Physical Therapy Consultation
NEWSLETTER Health& Wellness ARE YOU EXPERIENCING LOWER BACK PAIN? CHANCES ARE, IT MAY BE CAUSED BY ANOTHER ISSUE
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY NECK IS CAUSING MY BACK PAIN?
plan for you, based on their diagnosis of your specific needs. A physical therapistsendgoal is thesameasyours togetyou feelingbetter,healthier, and more comfortable! If you are experiencing lower back pain and think it may be caused by an issue occurring in your neck, give us a call today. Well get you moving comfortably again in no time. Source:https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low- Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet
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