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Backache: Introduction

A backache is the sensation of discomfort, inflammation, soreness, achiness, or stiffness in back. A backache often occurs in the lower back, medically known as the lumbar spine. A backache, also called back pain, is a symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. A backache can result from infection, trauma, malignancy, genetic disorders and other abnormal processes.

A backache can indicate a relatively benign condition, such as mild back sprain. A backache can be the result of a moderate condition, disorder or disease, such as ankylosing spondylitis and osteoarthritis. A backache can also accompany serious conditions that can even be life-threatening. These include bone cancer and spinal cancer.

Depending on the cause, a backache can be short-term and disappear quickly, such as when a backache or mild stiffness occurs after lying down for an extended period of time then resolves after moving around.

A backache can also occur suddenly and severely, such a backache that happens due to sudden back trauma resulting in thoracic spine fracture or lumbar spine fracture. A backache can also be chronic and ongoing over a long period of time, such as when a backache is due to osteoarthritis. For more details about causes, see causes of backache.

A backache often occurs in conjunction with other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Other symptoms can include numbness or altered sensations of the legs and feet (paresthesia), weakness of the legs and feet, pain with sitting, and fever.

Complications of a backache can be progressive and vary depending on the underlying cause. Complications can include increasing stiffness of the back, back weakness, and difficulty moving and completing the activities of daily living. This can progress in some cases to partial or complete disability.

Diagnosing a backache and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. A physical examination includes a neurological examination. This includes a rectal exam and testing a person's gait, reflexes, muscle strength, and sensation. A physical exam may also include exams of other body areas, such as the abdomen and pelvis.

Depending on the suspected cause of a backache, tests can include blood tests, urine tests, and imaging tests, such as X-ray, MRI, CT and/or myelogram, a special type of X-ray of the back. Electromyelogram (EMG) may be done to measure electrical activity of the muscles.

A diagnosis of a backache and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because a backache may be mild and for other reasons. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of a backache.

Treatment of a backache involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing it. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of a backache....more »

Backache: Misdiagnosis

Diagnosing a backache and its cause may be delayed or missed because in some cases, a backache may not be severe enough for a person to seek medical care. In addition, diagnosing the underlying or associated disease, disorder or condition can be delayed because noticeable symptoms, such as a backache, may not occur immediately, such as in bone cancer.

A ...more misdiagnosis »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Backache

Home medical tests possibly related to Backache:

Causes of Types of Backache:

Review causes of types of Backache in more specific categories:

Backache: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Backache, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

Backache Treatments

Treatment plans for a backache are individualized depending on the underlying cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and medical history of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the cause of backache, minimizes the discomfort of a backache, decreases the risk of developing serious ...Backache Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Backache may include:

Review further information on Backache Treatments.

Stories from Users for Backache

Real-life user stories relating to Backache:

Backache: Animations

Medications or substances causing Backache:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Backache as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Backache: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Backache may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Backache

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Backache:

Backache: Deaths

Read more about causes and Backache deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Backache

Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. However, there are also various other more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See more »

Backache: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Backache: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Backache listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Backache as a symptom include:

Definitions of Backache:

Acute or chronic pain located in the posterior regions of the THORAX; LUMBOSACRAL REGION; or the adjacent regions.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

An ache localized in the back
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Acute or chronic pain located in the posterior regions of the thorax, lumbosacral region, or the adjacent regions.
- (Source - CRISP)

Detailed list of causes of Backache

The list below shows some of the causes of Backache mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Backache?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Backache. Of the 66 causes of Backache that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 3 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 5 causes are "common" diseases
  • 2 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 0 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 7 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 58 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Backache:

The following list of conditions have 'Backache' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Backache or choose View All.

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Causes of Backache Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Backache based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    What are the alternative names for Backache:

    Dorsalgia, Back pain
    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Classifications of Backache:

    Medical Conditions associated with Backache:

    Back pain (479 causes), Back symptoms (1093 causes), Pain (6458 causes), Pain symptoms (6458 causes), Sensory symptoms (7134 causes), Nerve symptoms (9132 causes), Neurological symptoms (9575 causes), Sensations (6520 causes), Brain symptoms (2787 causes), Common symptoms (8589 causes), Body symptoms (5672 causes), Swelling symptoms (3730 causes), Head symptoms (10192 causes)

    Symptoms related to Backache:

    Back pain (479 causes), Spinal pain (11 causes), Muscle pain (956 causes), Back muscle symptoms, Sciatica (30 causes), Slip disc, Arthritis (224 causes), Abnormal curvature of back, Scoliosis (480 causes), Lordosis (97 causes)

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Backache:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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