Referred back pain


Back pain, at times, can be due to referred pain from another source. Referred pain is pain perceived at a location other than the site of the painful stimulus/origin. It is the result of a network of interconnecting sensory nerves that supply many different tissues in the human body that the pain may be felt at a location other than the site of the origin.

Below are some of the disease processes that can present with back pain:

  • Pancreatitis. This is a condition characterised by inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a large organ behind the stomach that produces digestive enzymes and the number of hormones. There are two main types: acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis.
  • Kidney stone disease. Also known as nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis, is when a solid piece of material develops in the urinary tract. A kidney stone is formed in the kidney and leave the body in the urine stream. A small stone may pass without causing symptoms. If a stone grows it may cause many symptoms including back pain.
  • Urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects the part of the urinary tract. When it affects the lower urinary tract it is known as a bladder infection (cystitis) and when it affects the upper urinary tract it is known as kidney infection (pyelonephritis). Symptoms of urinary tract infection include back pain.
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm. This is a localised enlargement of the abdominal aorta such that the diameter is greater than 3 cm or more than 50 % larger than normal. They usually cause no symptoms, except during rupture. Occasionally, abdominal, back, or leg pain may occur.


  1. Thanks for sharing this. It’s informative. Experienced this and the worst was time, and money wasted on misdiagnosis then the unnecessary pain.


  2. I have had this back pain and it turned out to be the kidney stone problem. But as far as I have noticed, the pain in the lower back is just a precursor to a more severe pain, and it gives you a fair amount of time to do something to prevent the stone from developing further and getting stuck in your urinary tract!


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