Is It Really Back Pain?

Most people experience back pain from time to time in their lives. Anything from sleeping in a new position to injuries or chronic conditions can cause back pain. There are a few conditions, though, that feel like back pain but are actually caused by something else. Here you will learn how to tell the difference.

Upper Back Pain

Pain in your neck and upper back can be caused by musculoskeletal disease, injury, strained muscles, and other common back problems. If you are experiencing pain around your collar bone or between your shoulder blades you could be experiencing what is known as referred pain. This can be caused by something as simple as gas or something more serious like pneumonia, internal bleeding, or heart conditions.

If the pain you feel doesn't change when you move the affected area, consider that the problem could be located elsewhere in your body, and if it doesn't resolve quickly, consider seeking medical advice.

Mid Back Pain

Mid back pain is less common than upper back pain, which is common during periods of stress, and lower back pain, which is often caused by problems with the skeleton in the lower body. Pain in the middle of your back can be caused by poor posture, musculoskeletal disease such as scoliosis, or problems with the organs located directly under the rib cage. 

Other common causes of mid back pain include kidney infection and kidney stones. It can feel like a dull ache radiating from the middle of your back. Many people mistake this sensation for muscle pain in their mid back. A doctor can tell whether it is the muscles of the back or the kidneys hurting with a few simple tests. A urine sample can show bacteria or blood in the urine, and a gentle but sharp blow to the kidneys will elicit pain felt through to the abdomen if it is not, in fact, true back pain.

Kidney problems are treated with antibiotics, rest, and, depending on the cause, sometimes pain medication to manage the discomfort while a kidney stone passes.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is very common in people who wear high heels regularly, have problems with their knees or feet, and, somewhat surprisingly, women of childbearing age. Pregnancy obviously puts strain on the mid and lower back, but did you know that the sensations of menstruation and ovulation can be sensed in the lower back instead of the abdomen?

When in their non-pregnant state, the uterus and ovaries are pelvic organs, meaning they are situated inside the pelvis. Many people mistakenly assume they are abdominal organs, located in their belly. When pain occurs due to ovulation or menstruation it can agitate the nerves the supply the sacrum, which is the bony portion of the pelvis connected to the spine. It can feel like the bones, ligaments and muscles of the lower back are in agony, but in reality it is simply the normal body processes of women of childbearing age.

If the pain you're experiencing comes and goes in conjunction with your menstrual cycle it is likely it's not due to back problems and is best treated with heat, rest, and over-the-counter painkillers.

Back pain can be mysterious. The human body is full of complex systems that can play tricks on you. Back pain is always something that should be investigated if it doesn't get better quickly, but pain experienced in the back is not always true back pain. If you have questions about the discomfort you're experiencing it's best to see a doctor from a clinic like Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates and investigate the cause. You never know; the answer may surprise you.