Low Back pain is such a broad symptom – i.e. – a lot of different and unrelated problems can cause back pain.
So when someone comes to their doctors with a complaint of back pain (low or otherwise), the doctor has to dig in deeply, asking questions and looking for signs to locate what could be responsible for the pain on this occasion.
Therefore in today’s Newsletter, we discuss other possible causes of low back pain and when advice should be sought for further guidance and treatment.
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UTI – Urinary Tract Infection
In this condition there is an infection of the urinary network – from the bladder, the small tubes leading out into the vagina or penis, or the tubes leading from the bladder to the kidneys or urethra.
Finally the kidneys, themselves can also get infected. They are located in the back just underneath the lower ribs on both sides.
Infection in the kidneys can result in back pain.
Pelvic pain – Periods or Pelvic infections
In women, infection in the reproductive organs – womb, the tubes and ovaries can lead to pain in these areas.
However, the pain can also spread to the back since there is a rich collection of nerves that can carry sensation from these organs to the back.
Similarly, some women with heavy periods or conditions which can lead to heavy bleeding like Fibroids and Endometriosis may also develop back pain related to these conditions.
Ok, so while this directly affects the bones, we include it as something that your doctor must take into account when trying to explain back pain (especially when it’s a nagging pain that is just not getting better) – depending on the other symptoms and circumstances.
Some examples are: Multiple Myelomas, or spread from other cancer like breast or prostate cancer.
Multiple Myeloma is a type of blood cancer, and one of its symptoms can include persistent back pain.
Anyone can have a fracture from an injury or accident – but we want to highlight fractures of the spine that can happen most commonly in elderly people whose bones have lost their mineral strength.
Even with minimal force or trauma, these fragility fractures can happen leading to sudden back pain.
Hence for someone who is older or people who use steroid drugs for a long period of time they may have a condition called Osteoporosis or ‘thinning bones’ which can increase the risk of a fracture happening with minimal trauma.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)
This is the last one we look at today – thankfully a rare problem, but it is important as could be potentially life-threatening.
It is a condition that affects the blood vessels.
There is a weakness in the muscle of the vessel which means it cannot take much pressure of blood flow and could burst at any time.
The blood vessel then swells like a balloon – see the top image.
Commonly it happens to one of the major blood vessels – the abdominal aorta (running in the lower abdomen above the spine).
The aneurysm can burst anytime and lead to severe back pain as well as a serious threat to life from major bleeding.
So that’s a short look at a few other problems leading to Low Back Pain.
While problems with the muscles or joints, from sprains or other mechanical injury are quite common, keeping these others in mind will hopefully reduce the chance of missing them as alternative diagnoses.
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