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When Back Pain Is Something Else? | Doctors’ Guide for Low Back Pain

Living with chronic back pain can be incredibly difficult and negatively impact your quality of life. But what if the root cause of your pain isn’t actually your spine – and instead something else? That can make detecting, diagnosing, and treating the issue all the more challenging. As a healthcare provider, I understand this feeling — which is why in this article, I want to discuss some other potential causes of back pain that you might not know about. Through educating yourself on the signs and symptoms associated with other ailments, you may start to get an understanding of how intertwined our body systems are — and how changes or disruptions elsewhere within us could be causing or at least contributing to our lower back issues as well.

As a general rule, back pain can sometimes be a symptom of conditions other than muscle strain or injury. These include spinal stenosis, herniated discs, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and even cancer. Identifying the underlying cause of back pain is vital to determine the appropriate treatment. 

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Identifying the Underlying Causes of Back Pain

Back pain is a common complaint among adults, but in some cases, it can be a symptom of an underlying condition. It’s essential to recognize when your back pain might be signaling something more serious so that you can seek appropriate treatment.

If you’re struggling with back pain, I wrote an article on how to manage your pain and why you should do these important steps and I encourage you to read it!

Red Flags to Watch Out For

back pain female

While most back pain is harmless and temporary, there are some red flags that may indicate a more severe issue. These include:

  • Persistent pain that doesn’t improve with rest or over-the-counter medications
  • Pain that worsens at night or when lying down
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever or chills accompanying the pain
  • Difficulty controlling bowel or bladder function
  • Numbness or tingling in the limbs
  • Weakness in the legs or arms

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional immediately.

Potential Underlying Causes

back pain office worker

There are several conditions that can cause back pain and require medical attention. Some of these include:

  • Spinal infections: An infection in the spine can lead to inflammation, causing severe pain and potentially damaging the spinal cord if left untreated.
  • Kidney stones or infections: Pain from kidney-related issues can sometimes be felt in the lower back and may require prompt treatment.
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm: A bulge in the wall of the aorta, the body’s largest blood vessel, can cause pain in the back or abdomen and may be life-threatening if it ruptures.
  • Tumors or cancer: Back pain can be a symptom of cancerous growths or tumors affecting the spinal column or nearby structures.

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When to Seek Medical Help

serious pain. seek doctor

If your back pain is accompanied by any of the red flags mentioned above, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and intervention can help prevent further complications and improve your chances of recovery. Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health.








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Understanding the Different Types of Back Pain

When it comes to back pain, it’s important to know that it can be caused by a variety of factors. Not all back pain is created equal, and identifying the specific type of pain you’re experiencing can be crucial in finding the right treatment. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of back pain and conditions that can cause it, from low back pain to chronic pain.

hip joint

Identifying Symptoms of More Serious Conditions Beyond Pain

One of the key factors in understanding your back pain is being able to identify the symptoms of more serious conditions beyond pain. While back pain is a common complaint, it can also be a symptom of other medical problems, such as infections or spinal cord problems. Knowing the warning signs of these conditions is important for maintaining your overall health.

Low Back Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Low back pain is a particularly common type of back pain, with many possible causes. Whether it’s due to a herniated disc, a muscle or ligament strain, or something else entirely, it’s important to learn about the causes, symptoms, and available treatments.

Neck Pain: When to Seek Medical Attention

young woman with neck pain

Beyond the low back, neck pain is another type of pain that can have a variety of causes. It’s often caused by problems with the muscles, ligaments, or nerves in the neck. However, neck pain can also be a symptom of a more serious condition such as a spinal cord problem, which requires immediate medical attention.

Chronic Pain: How to Manage Long-term Symptoms

For those experiencing chronic pain, the symptoms can be even more complicated. Managing long-term symptoms often requires a combination of treatments, including medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. It’s important for individuals to work with a healthcare professional to find the right plan of action.

Pain Relief: Common Treatments and Self-Care Techniques

back pain female

When it comes to pain relief, there are a variety of common treatments and self-care techniques available. Depending on the type and severity of the pain, heat or ice therapy, massage, or medication may be effective. For those struggling with chronic pain, it may be particularly helpful to explore alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or meditation.

Seeking Professional Help for Back Pain: When and Why.

While there are plenty of options for pain relief, sometimes it’s necessary to seek professional help. Knowing when and why to seek medical attention is key to addressing the problem effectively. This may involve working with a physical therapist, a chiropractor, or even a surgeon.

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Prevention Techniques to Avoid Future Back Pain Occurrence

Preventing future back pain occurrence is important for maintaining overall health. This may involve strengthening exercises or changes to your workspace. By taking proactive steps, you can minimize the risk of developing back pain in the first place.

Overall, understanding the different types of back pain, the symptoms of more serious conditions, and the available treatments is key to maintaining your overall health and quality of life. By working with professionals and taking proactive steps to prevent pain, you can live your best life with minimal discomfort.

back pain young woman

What Is Middle Back Pain: A Symptom Of?

The middle back – which is also known as the thoracic spine – is an incredibly important section of the spinal cord. It stretches from the base of the neck down to the bottom of the ribcage and is responsible for supporting the upper body while also allowing for comfortable movement. When you experience pain in this area, it’s often due to one of several potential issues, including muscle strain or injury, poor posture, or even underlying health concerns such as spinal osteoarthritis or a herniated disk.

Sudden Severe Lower Back Pain Female

Sudden, severe lower back pain is never pleasant – but it’s important to note that it’s not uncommon among women, especially those who lead active lifestyles or who have recently given birth. Issues such as pelvic floor weakness, endometriosis, and ovarian cysts may all contribute to lower back pain in women. If you’re experiencing sudden or extreme discomfort in your lower back that doesn’t subside with rest or over-the-counter pain relievers, it may be time to speak with a healthcare professional.

back pain under ribs

What Organs Can Cause Lower Back Pain?

While the most common causes of lower back pain are related to the muscles and skeletal structures in the back, it’s also possible for the pain to be indicative of other underlying health issues. For instance, kidney infections or kidney stones may cause pain in the lower back, as can issues with the digestive system, such as constipation or inflammatory bowel disease. Even cancerous tumors in the colon or ovaries may present with lower back pain, so it’s always wise to seek professional medical attention if you’re experiencing this kind of discomfort.

Woke up With Severe Lower Back Pain

If you’ve ever awoken to find yourself dealing with severe lower back pain, you know just how disconcerting and uncomfortable it can be. But what causes this type of sudden pain? In many cases, it may be due to sleeping in an awkward position, which can lead to pulling or straining one of the muscles in the lower back. Other culprits may include sleeping on a bed that’s too soft or due to a preexisting health condition that’s exacerbated during sleep, such as arthritis or sciatica.

back pain lower left side

Sudden Sharp Pain in Middle of Back

A sudden sharp pain in the middle of your back can be alarming – but thankfully, it’s often due to muscle strain or injury rather than a more serious underlying issue. The thoracic spine is made up of 12 different vertebrae, and when one of these vertebrae is pulled or jolted out of place due to sudden movement, it can result in sharp or stabbing pain in the middle of the back. In many cases, rest and over-the-counter pain medication can help to alleviate this type of discomfort.


While the majority of back pains originate from a physical source, it is important to understand that back pain can be symptomatic of deeper issues. Therefore, it is important to stay mindful when evaluating your symptoms and reach out for help whenever you are concerned about your back pain. It can sometimes be difficult to know who or what to go to for advice, so if possible build relationships with people in the medical field that you trust—be it a primary care physician or masseuse.

Sometimes having the reassurance of somebody who has knowledge in this area can make all the difference. Of course, always remember that any medical treatment should always be discussed with your healthcare provider and take advice from trustworthy sources only; never resorting to self-medication or taking too much time before seeking professional attention. Ultimately, while not every type of back pain will warrant urgent medical attention; being proactive with any and all types of pain should be done with a caring tone of voice – and an understanding attitude.




**As a service to our readers, Axial Chairs provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

Medical Disclaimer: This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Product Disclaimer: The seat cushion is designed by a chiropractor, but results may vary and are not guaranteed. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical condition.


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Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC


My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.


Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort. With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life. I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

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