Non-Mechanical Causes of Low Back Pain
Mechanical injury is the leading cause of low back pain (please see my previous post titled, “Mechanical Causes of Low Back Pain.”) Today, I’m going to focus on other less common causes including neoplasm, inflammatory, metabolic, Paget’s disease, psychosomatic, depression and referred pain. No matter the cause, it is important to seek medical attention to workup low back pain immediately to prevent acute pain from becoming a chronic condition.
Neoplasm – Low Back Pain
The growth of a tumor can lead to chronic back pain. For this reason, it is important to consult with a pain specialist in order to determine the cause of your back pain. Surgery and adjuvant therapy may be necessary in the case of neoplastic back pain. Simple imaging studies such as an XRAY would be the first step in identifying neoplastic disease.
Inflammatory – Low Back Pain
Many cases of back pain are caused by inflammation. When prolonged inflammation occurs, chronic low back pain can result. These include inflammatory arthropathies such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause primary low back pain, specifically when it affects the sacroiliac joints.
Metabolic Disease– Low Back Pain
Metabolic diseases of the muscle interfere with important chemical reactions that draw energy from food sources. Since muscles use a tremendous amount of energy to work properly, metabolic disease, while rare, can manifest into low back pain symptoms. Metabolic diseases such as myopathies, can be accurately diagnosed using electrodiagnostic studies such as electromyography. A consultation with a pain specialist is an important step in diagnosis.
Paget’s Disease – Low Back Pain
Paget’s disease is a chronic disorder that causes abnormal bone growth in the spine, pelvis, chest, skull, and legs. When people suffer from Paget’s disease, the bone tissue begins to break down faster than it can rebuild. As the body tries to catch up with the rebuilding process, the new bone is usually weak and fractures easily. Paget’s disease should be treated by both a primary care physician and rheumatologist. If pain symptoms cannot be managed, a pain consultation to a specialist is appropriate.
Psychosomatic – Low Back Pain
There are psychosocial factors that can cause ongoing stress to the body eventually leading to chronic low back pain. Examples may include dissatisfaction with work or home life, financial worries, and any number of other problems. In most cases, psychological stresses amplify the perception of the painful condition and often lead patients to seek medical attention.
Depression – Low Back Pain
As demonstrated above, people’s state of mind can greatly affect their perception of pain. Those who are suffering from depression or chronic stress are more likely to experience long-lasting back pain.
Referred Pain – Low Back Pain
Referred pain describes instances where pain is perceived to take place in an area of the body that is actually adjacent to the actual site of injury. When pain arises from other organs in the body, it can be referred to the spine. Intra-abdominal problems such as kidney disease, pelvic diseases involving reproductive organs or pancreatitis can be referred as back pain. These pain symptoms are also commonly referred to as viscero-somatic.
Seeking the Help of a Pain Specialist
If you are experiencing back pain symptoms, it is important to seek the help of a pain specialist such as myself. Getting a proper history and performing a physical examination will be able to determine an appropriate course of treatment. While many cases can be resolved with adequate rest and pain medication, as listed above, it is important to rule out unusual catalysts for back pain.
I offer safe and effective methods for alleviating chronic low back pain and any other ongoing pain issues. Resolve your pain symptoms by making a visit to our office as soon as possible.