Spondylolisthesis (spaun-di-lo-lie-thee-sis) is a mouthful and is a common cause of low back pain (although it can exist anywhere in the spine, the lumbar spine is the most common area affected). The spinal column is a series of building blocks called vertebral bodies stacked on top of one another. Sometimes these blocks do not line up perfectly. This slight separation in the spinal column is called a spondylolisthesis .
"Doc says I have a spondy-something-or-other. Don't ask me what it is; all I know is that it hurts". Steve tries to explain his low back condition to his friend. But, he finds that he cannot explain what he does not understand. Steve has had back pain for a number of years. Every year the pain gets worse and has now become constant. His doctor sent him for x-rays recently. The x-rays showed a spondylolisthesis with disc degeneration at L5/S1. Steve could not understand his doctor's explanation of the condition. So, now he has pain and has confusion.
Sometimes back pain is not strictly related to spinal structures. Sometimes back pain comes from other places, specifically internal organs. In a process called referred pain , internal organs can send pain signals to other parts of the body. For example, when someone is experiencing a heart attack, the left arm may ache. Nothing is wrong with the arm, but this limb hurts because the heart is referring pain to it. The neck, mid-back and low back are also potential targets for referred pain. Here are two examples when "back pain" has nothing to do with spinal problems.
Gallbladder : The gallbladder is a small organ tucked up near the liver that helps with digestion. Within this internal organ problems can arise like a blockage from a stone, an infection, or just an inflamed gallbladder attack. Sometimes the symptoms clearly point to a problem with the gallbladder. These classic symptoms include right upper quadrant abdominal pain just underneath the right chest wall, nausea, gas, ...
Suddenly you have an intense pain that comes and goes that is located in the area of the flank or maybe in the lower abdomen. You may also be nauseous and vomiting, or you may even have a fever. Most women who experience this describe this as being worse than childbirth without anesthesia. You cannot find a comfortable position and will be pacing back and forth. What is it that I am describing? A kidney stone that is trying to make its way out of the urinary tract.
Kidney stones can come in many different shapes, sizes and composition. Many patients may have stones that are present in their kidney and not even know they are there. Patients only become aware of their stones when the stones cause symptoms. Symptoms that can be associated with kidney stones include bleeding, infection, or pain that usually comes in waves and can be located in your back and sides and may radiate toward the groin.
What is a kidney stone?
Most stones (80%) contain calcium; h...
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