What can make it worse: coughing, sneezing, walking, movement, menstruation.
What can make it better: antacids, leaning forward, bed rest. The most common form of back pain results from strain in thelower back.
Your Doctor Visit
What your doctor will ask you about: urinary incontinence, diffi-culty or pain with urinating, blood in urine, pain or numbness in thebuttocks or legs, abdominal pain, hip pain, fever or chills, nausea,vomiting, flank pain, vaginal discharge.
Your doctor will also want to know whether you have ever had an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI of yourspine, or any other tests of your backbone, and what they showed,and whether you have ever had surgery on your spine.
Your doctor will want to know if your back pain began after aback injury or fall, and the precise location of the pain.
Your doctor will want to know if you or anyone in your family hashad any of these conditions: cancer, recent surgery, spinal fracture.
Your doctor will want to know if you’re taking any regular medications, particularly steroids or anticoagulants.
Your doctor will do a physical examination including the following: pushing on your abdomen, listening to your abdomen with a stethoscope, pelvic exam (in women), muscle spasms in the back, tenderness in the back, spinal curvature and flexibility, reflexes in thelegs and feet, strength and sensation in the feet and calves.
WHAT CAN CAUSE BACK PAIN, AND WHAT IS TYPICAL FOR EACH CAUSE?
Cause: Muscle strain
What is it: Injury to muscles
Typical symptoms:Muscle spasms near thespine, pain does not moveto the legs, often beginsafter lifting
Cause: Spinal fracture
What is it: A break in one of the bones of the spine, called vertebrae
Typical symptoms: Severe, persistent pain, tenderness, often the result of back injury or fall
What is it:The most common form of arthritis, or inflammation of the joints
Typical symptoms:Limited range of motion of the spine, often accompanied by pain in otherjoints, more common inthe elderly
Cause: Ankylosing spondylitis
What is it: Arthritis affecting the spine
Typical symptoms: Stiffness, lower back pain, reduced flexibility in thespine, more common inyoung men
What is it: Re-activation of the virusthat causes chicken pox; more common in the elderly who have had chicken pox
Typical symptoms: Painful skin sores
Cause: Peptic ulcer
What is it: Severe irritation of thestomach lining
Typical symptoms:Abdominal pain or tender ness, pain in the mid-backregion, sometimes relievedby antacids
What is it: Inflammation of the pancreas, the organ that produces insulin, which regulates sugar; often associated with history of heavy drinking or gallstones
Typical symptoms: Pain in the upper abdomen, sometimes in the back, nausea, vomiting, sometimes weakness and rapid heart rate
Cause: Abdominal aortic aneurysm
What is it: A swelling in the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body
Typical symptoms: Acute upper abdominal pain, sometimes a pulsing can be felt in abdomen,more common in peopleover 50
Cause: Kidney stones (See chapter on Urine Problems.)
What is it: The presence of a stone made up of mineral salts in the kidney
Typical symptoms: History of passing blood or “gravel” in urine, severe pain radiating to groin or testicle
What is it: Kidney infection
Typical symptoms: Pain in the sides, upperabdominal tenderness, difficulty or pain with urina-tion, blood in urine, fever
Cause: Gynecologic disease
What is it: Disease affecting the reproductive organs in women
Typical symptoms: Pain in the lower part of the abdomen or sacrum, vaginal discharge, painmay change according tomenstruation
What is it: Infection or inflammationof prostate
Typical symptoms: Changes in urination, lower abdominal pain
Cause: Neurological damage
What is it: Damage to the spinal cord
Typical symptoms: Pain radiating to legs, inability to move legs, trouble moving legs, bladder problems, often theresult of spinal fracture (seepage 14) caused by aninjury
Cause: Herniated intervertebral disk
What is it: A disk between vertebrae protrudes into the space that holds the spinal cord, squeezing it
Typical symptoms: Pain radiating into legs or buttocks, aggravated by sneezing or coughing, often begins after lifting
Cause: Spinal stenosis
What is it: A narrowing of the spinal column that leads to a pinching of the spinal cord and nerves
Typical symptoms: Unsteady walk, thigh weakness, lower back pain that radiates into the thighs, often relieved by bending forward
Cause: Tumor in vertebrae
What is it: Malignant and abnormal growth of cells in the vertebrae, the bones that make up the spine
Typical symptoms: Severe, progressive pain, more common in older patients and people with a history of cancer
- shingles on back
- shingles back
- shingle pictures
- photos of shingles on back
- shingles leg