FROM OUR EXPERTS
As I sit here writing, I'm in a lot of pain. The left side of my low back is throbbing. Often I can ease this pain by popping the back, but this time that hasn't worked, and neither has Advil. The next step will be to put a prescription pain patch on it.
"Depression hurts," say the Cymbalta commercials. Yes, it does, and antidepressants that, like Cymbalta, work to make more of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine available have also been shown to relieve pain.
My questions arise from my own experience. Although I was formally diagnosed with bipolar relatively late, I see symptoms going clear back to childhood. I began to have chronic pain in my early 20s, first in my neck and head, then crippling pain in my arms that finally moved to my mid and upper back. This was diagnosed, after 9 difficult years, as fibromyalgia. Then later I injured my low back and have had trouble with it ever since, while other areas of my back flare up periodically.
One of t...
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, ...
Back pain - nonspecific
Low back pain
Pain in any part of the back
Pain may radiate to the buttocks or upper leg(s)
Signs and tests
A physical examination focused on the back, the abdomen, and the extremities may confirm back pain or muscle spasm , but the examination does not reveal a specific cause (such as a herniated disk) or any neurological problem (such as weakness or change in sensation).
X-rays of the spine are usually normal. Further work-up may include a CT scan or MRI of the spine .
You should know
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