7 Less Common Causes of Low Back Pain

As a chiropractor I pride myself on my ability to successfully treat low back pain. A large majority of patients come to the office with low back pain that is caused by muscles, joints, and nerves. A pulled muscle in the back, arthritis in the joints, and mild nerve irritation due to a disc bulge are all conditions that can respond favorably to chiropractic treatment. On rare occasions, a patient may experience back pain that mimics the aforementioned types of pain, but stems from something less typical. It is my responsibility to differentiate when it is a common type of back pain, or a more uncommon, serious type of low back pain that requires a referral to a different specialist.

Here are a list of more uncommon, but serious causes of low back pain:

  • Kidney Issues including stones and infection

    • Common symptoms with diagnosis include burning urination and lower side pain (flank)

  • Gallstones

    • Common symptoms with diagnosis include pain in the right shoulder blade area following large fatty meals.

  • Pancreatitis

    • Common symptoms with diagnosis include deep back pain, that seems as though it is referring into the abdomen, bloating, nausea, and vomiting.

  • Infection of the bone

    • Common symptoms with diagnosis include sudden onset of back pain without a noticeable cause, sweating, tenderness to touch, redness, and fever (A fever combined with moderate to severe low back pain is a medical emergency)

  • Cancer

    • Common symptoms with diagnosis include pain that is most noticeable at night without any noticeable cause of pain, fatigue, unexplained weight loss without a change in diet.

  • Meningitis

    • Common symptoms with diagnosis include chills, fatigue, severe headache, loss of appetite, stiff back, stiff neck.

  • Shingles

    • Red rash developing near the spine across the ribs.

These conditions are not typically seen in a chiropractic office, but we are trained to identify them if a patient has mistaken their back pain for something that can be treated by a chiropractor. A referral to the appropriate specialist for further treatment will be provided.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about the pain you are experiencing in your low back, do not hesitate to contact a health care professional including chiropractors, physical therapist and your family doctor.