6 Health Problems That Only Seem Like Back Pain

more serious health problem

Everyone experiences back pain at some point or the other. It’s so common that most people don’t even bother going to the doctor and would rather just take some pain meds. In most cases, the pain goes away and you get back to work as usual. But there could be cases where back pain may indicate a more serious, underlying health problem. If your back pain is severe, sharp, or refuses to go away, talk to your doctor to check if the reason could be more than what it seems. Here are 6 possible explanations.

1. Appendicitis

The traditional symptoms of appendicitis are of nausea, vomiting, and sharp pain in the lower right abdomen. However, fewer than half of people with appendicitis experience these symptoms. It is also possible to develop lower back pain. This is because 5% of people have their appendix in their back near a kidney. So the inflammation or rupture of an appendix may cause lower back pain instead of stomach pain. If you think you have appendicitis, go to the doctor immediately. An infected appendix can rupture less than 24 hours after symptoms begin and if infection sets in, it can lead to shock.

2. Gyno Issues

About 25% women have a retroverted uterus, a condition where the uterus tilts backward. When many of these women have menstrual cramps, they’ll feel it as pain in the lower back instead of pain in the lower abdomen. In some cases, fibroids can also cause back pain if they press against the muscles and nerves of the lower back. Lower back pain can also be caused by endometriosis, a condition which occurs when bits of the tissue that lines the uterus grows on other pelvic organs. Talk to your gynecologist if you have consistent lower back pain.

3. Aortic Aneurysm

An aneurysm occurs when part of an artery wall weakens, allowing it to widen abnormally or balloon out. The causes of aneurysms are sometimes unknown. Some may be congenital, meaning a person is born with them. An aneurysm may also occur as the result of aortic disease or an injury. According to the American Heart Association, these bulges can occur anywhere, but aortic aneurysms refer to those that develop along the aorta.

If an aortic aneurysm bursts, it often causes back pain that radiates into the abdomen. Aortic aneurysms are most common among men over age 60 who smoke or have high cholesterol. However, if you’re experiencing severe and sudden pain in the belly or back, seek immediate medical attention.

4. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a silent disease because it does not exhibit any symptom for years. However, according to reports, among people who do have symptoms, terrible back pain is considered common. This disease weakens your bones, including your vertebrae causing them to fracture. This can lead to a sharp back pain that doesn’t go away. These breaks may cause you to develop a curved spine and lose height. If you have pain in your upper or middle back, talk to your doctor. Medication can help reduce the risk of breaking more bones.

5. Arthritis

Arthritis may affect any part of your body but your lower back is more vulnerable because it bears more of the body’s weight. There are many different types of arthritis and some of the common symptoms include pain, stiffness, and swelling. The most common is osteoarthritis which is caused by wear and tear of the joints over time. The cartilage that cushions the ends of bones breaks down causing bone friction which leads to pain and inflammation.

6. Kidney Stones

Kidney stones form when chemicals in the urine become too concentrated and begin to crystallize. While kidney stones tend to move out of the body without causing internal damage, people who have passed stones describe it as the worst pain they’ve ever experienced. It’s a sharp, stabbing sensation that develops in your side or lower back at the bottom part of the rib cage, and then travels down into the genital area. Other symptoms may include blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Kidney stones are one of the most common reasons for visits to the emergency room.