Common Symptoms of Back Pain

Common Symptoms of Back Pain:

Your Anatomy May Not Be the Cause

Back pain is funny in that you might expect that whenever you have changes in the anatomical structures of the back, there would always be pain. You’d expect to have pain in the upper back with arthritis or disc herniation.

However, this isn’t true at all. Studies have found that patients could have actual herniated discs on their MRIs but not have back pain!

Doctors know fully well that some patients could have serious arthritic changes seen on the x-rays of their neck and back, yet not have anywhere near the level of pain that would be expected. That’s why you can’t diagnose back pain based on images alone. It is important to have a doctor to evaluate your symptoms and perform a physical exam.

Thus, the principle to remember is this:  altered anatomy may not explain the reason for the back pain. Back pain can occur in a patient with normal or abnormal structures.

Common Symptoms of Back Pain Must Always Be Evaluated Medically

Some of the conditions that do seem to cause back pain in patients include:

• Degenerative disc disease (Herniated Discs Occur in the Body)

• Stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)

• Spinal fractures

• Spondylosis, which is degeneration in the lower back

• Spondylitis, which is an inflammation in the back

• Strains and sprains

• Spondylolisthesis, which occurs when a vertebrae moves forward out of alignment with the rest of the vertebrae

• Scoliosis, which is seen when the spine curves side to side

• Kyphosis, which is when the spine curves front to back

• Joint disease in the spine (DJD Ruining Your Life)

• Paget’s disease, a disease where bone in the body grows more than it should

• Osteoporosis, which is a thinning of the bones to the point where they are brittle and can fracture easily

• Cancer of the spine

• Infection in a bone in the spine

• Diseases in the gall bladder, pancreas, or colon

• Trigger points in the muscles of the back or pelvis or buttocks

• Disease in the pelvis, prostate, endometrial tissue, including infections

• Kidney stones or kidney infections

• Aneurysm

• Sciatica that leads to difficulty walking

• Bowel and bladder incontinence

Common Symptoms of Back Pain:

It May Not Be What You Think It Is

Doctors spend years in medical school learning how to diagnose different symptoms. For example, neck pain can be related to dozens of causes but if it’s neck and back pain, this limits the list of diagnoses. Pain in the back can be related to even more dozens of causes but if it’s stomach pain and back pain, then the list is much more limited.

Below is a list that explains some of the diagnoses that accompany common symptoms of back pain. The list does not include all possible reasons but is meant to give you examples of what common symptoms of back pain can mean.

Symptom – Possible Reasons Why The Pain is Felt

Pain upper back –  Herniated disc, spinal stenosis, arthritis, muscle imbalance, trigger points in the muscles, lack of muscle tone, kyphosis, scoliosis

Neck and back pain – Lack of muscle tone, trigger points, muscle imbalance, arthritis, herniated disc, stenosis, ankylosing spondylitis, herniated disc, muscle strain or sprain, loss of cervical curve in the neck, scoliosis, kyphosis, DJD

Pain back of neck – Trauma, osteoporosis, fractured vertebrae, arthritis, herniated disc, stenosis, lack of muscle tone, trigger points, muscle imbalance, disc collapse, facet syndrome, congenital disorders, meningitis

Right back pain – Kidney stone, muscle strain or sprain, rib out of alignment, fractured rib, lung problems, adrenal disorders, colitis, herniated disc, compressed spinal nerve(s), lack of muscle tone, trigger points, muscle imbalance, sciatica, Piriformis syndrome, facet syndrome, liver disease

Left back pain – Kidney stone, muscle strain or sprain, rib out of alignment, fractured rib, lung problems, adrenal disorders, colitis, herniated disc, compressed spinal nerve(s), lack of muscle tone, trigger points, muscle imbalance, sciatica, Piriformis syndrome, facet syndrome

Stomach pain – Appendicitis, kidney stones, ulcer, pancreatitis, Herniated disc, medication side effects, trigger points, muscle imbalance, food poisoning

Back ache –  Sciatica, Piriformis Syndrome, compressed nerves, Herniated disk, arthritis, spondylolisthesis, spondylitis, DJD, kyphosis, scoliosis, stenosis, lack of muscle tone, trigger points, muscle imbalance,  kidney stones, facet syndrome

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