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 .
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, ...
Why does sitting for long periods of time increase back pain sometimes? This question has been studied for the past 50 years and researchers still find controversy when trying to answer the question. At the heart of the dilemma is a mechanical dynamic between body weight, body posture, and spinal disc load.
A loading, compressive force on a spinal disc creates a certain amount of pressure within the disc which is like a marshmallow in between two graham crackers being squished together. This pressure can be measured with special devices inserted into the disc. With various body positions like lying down, sitting, standing and bending forward, the pressure amounts vary and were first reported in the landmark study performed by Dr. Nachemson in 1981 . In this study, he found that sitting produced higher pressures in the spinal disc than standing. So, for the past thirty years, clinicians have told patients with degenerative disc related back pain to avoid prolong sitting because h...
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