back pain


Pain in the lower part of the back is the primary symptom of low back pain. Below are the signs:

  • the pain may radiate down the front, side or back of the leg or it may be confined to the lower back,
  • occasionally, the pain may be worse at night or with prolonged sitting such as on a long car trip,
  • the pain become worse with activity,
  • there may be numbness or weakness in the part of the leg that receives its nerve supply from a compressed nerve. This occurs when first sacral nerve is compressed or injured. This can cause inability to plantar flex the foot. This mean a person affected will have inability to stand on toes or bring foot downward,
  • another sign is inability to raise the big toe upward. This results when the fifth lumbar nerve is compromised.


Back pain is a symptom. Common causes of back pain involve disease or injury to the muscles, bones and/or nerves of the spine. Below is the list of possible causes of lower back pain, this list is not inclusive:

  • herniated disc. This develops as spinal discs degenerate or grow thinner. The jellylike central portion of the disc bulges out of the central cavity and pushes against a nerve root. Intervertebral discs in humans begin to degenerate by the third decade of life,
  • nerve root syndromes. These produce symptoms of nerve impingement (this is where a nerve is directly irritated). Sciatica is an example of nerve root impingement. Impingement pain tends to be sharp, affecting a specific area and associated with numbness in the area of the leg that the affected nerve supplies,
  • spondylosis. This occurs as intervertebral discs lose moisture and volume with age which decreases the disc height,
  • cauda equina syndrome. This is a medical emergency whereby the spinal cord is directly compressed. Disc material expands into spinal carnal which compresses the nerve. A person would experience pain, possible loss of sensation and bowel or bladder dysfunction. This could include inability to control urination causing incontinence or the inability to begin urination,
  • fibromyalgia. This results in widespread pain and tenderness throught the body. Generalized stiffness, fatigue and muscle aches are reported,
  • infections of the bones (osteomyelitis) of the spine are an uncommon cause of low back pain,
  • tumors, possibly cancerous, can be a source of skeletal pain,
  • inflammation of nerves from spine can occur with infections of the nerves with the herpes zoster viruses that causes shingles. This can occur in the thoracic area to cause upper back pain or in the lumbar are to cause lower back pain.

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