Signs and symptoms
- Muscle ache
- Shooting or stabbing pain
- Pain that radiates down your leg
- Pain that worsens with bending, lifting, standing or walking
- Pain that improves with reclining
What causes back pain
- Muscle or ligament strain. Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain the back muscles and spinal ligaments. If you’re in poor physical condition, constant strain on your back can cause painful muscle spasms.
- Bulging or ruptured discs. Discs act as cushions between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine. The soft material inside a disc can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve. However, you can have a bulging or ruptured disc without back pain. Disc disease is often found incidentally when you have spine x-rays for some other reason.
- Osteoarthritis can affect the lower back. In some cases, arthritis in the spine can lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord (spinal stenosis).
- Skeletal irregularities. A condition in which your spine curves to the side (scoliosis) also can lead to back pain, but generally not until middle age.
- Compression fractures can develop and cause weakness in your spine’s vertebrae.
When to see your doctor
See your provider if your back pain:
- Causes new bowel or bladder problems
- Is accompanied by fever
- Follows a fall, blow to your back or other injury
- Is severe and doesn’t improve with rest
- Spreads down one or both legs, especially if the pain extends below the knee
- Causes weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs
- Is accompanied by unexplained weight loss
Medical care and help
Seek medical help if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. Back pain is a complex condition. Our physicians can identify the source of your pain with a test or imaging/scan, and working alongside our pain management and orthopedic specialists will provide a suitable treatment plan for you.