Lower Back Pain

Symptom Checker: Symptoms & Signs Index

Medical Author:

Related
Symptoms & Signs

There are many causes of pain in the back. Symptoms in the low back can be a result of problems in the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area. Pains in the upper back can also be a result of disorders of the aorta, chest tumors, and inflammation of spine.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/21/2012

Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.

REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

Main Article on Back Pain
  • Low Back Pain There are many causes of back pain. Pain in the low back can relate to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae,...learn more »
Causes of Back Pain
    • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Abdominal aortic aneurysm is a ballooning or widening of the main artery (the aorta) as it courses down through the abdomen. Most...learn more »
      In This Article
      Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Article
      • Abdominal aortic aneurysm facts
      • What is an aneurysm?
      • What is an aortic aneurysm?
      • What is the thoracic and abdominal aorta?
      • Where do aortic aneurysms tend to develop?
      • What shape are most aortic aneurysms?
      • What is inside an aortic aneurysm?
      • Who is most likely to have an abdominal aortic aneurysm?
      • What are risk factors for aortic aneurysms?
      • What is the most common cause of aortic aneurysms?
      • What are other causes of aortic aneurysms?
      • What are the symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm?
      • How is an abdominal aortic aneurysm diagnosed clinically?
      • What tests help in the diagnosis of an abdominal aortic aneurysm?
      • What is the natural history of abdominal aortic aneurysms?
      • What are the complications with an abdominal aortic aneurysm?
      • How are abdominal aortic aneurysms repaired?
      • What is done if an abdominal aortic aneurysm threatens to rupture?
      • What is the medical management (nonsurgical management) of abdominal aortic aneurysm?
    • Ankylosing Spondylitis Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes chronic inflammation of the spine. The tendency to develop ankylosing...learn more »
      In This Article
      Ankylosing Spondylitis Article
      • Ankylosing spondylitis facts
      • What is ankylosing spondylitis?
      • What causes ankylosing spondylitis?
      • What are ankylosing spondylitis symptoms and signs?
      • How is ankylosing spondylitis diagnosed?
      • What are ankylosing spondylitis treatment options?
      • Can ankylosing spondylitis be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with ankylosing spondylitis?
      • What is in the future for patients with ankylosing spondylitis?
      • Where can people find more information about ankylosing spondylitis and learn about support groups?
    • Bone Cancer Bone cancer is a rare type of cancer that occurs in cells that make up the bones. Primary bone cancer that arises in bone cells...learn more »
      In This Article
      Bone Cancer Article
      • What is bone cancer? What is metastatic bone cancer?
      • Who is at risk for bone cancer?
      • What causes bone cancer?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of bone cancer?
      • What are the different types of bone cancer?
      • What kinds of bone cancer occur in children?
      • What tests are used to diagnose bone cancer?
      • What is the treatment for bone cancer?
      • How is bone cancer pain managed?
      • What is the prognosis for bone cancer?
      • Can bone cancer be prevented?
    • Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures) A broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures such as compressed, open, stress, greenstick, spiral,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures) Article
      • What is a broken bone (fracture)?
      • What causes a broken bone?
      • What are the most common types of broken bones?
      • Compression fracture
      • Skull fracture
      • Stress fracture
      • What are the most common bones that are broken?
      • Broken hand or fingers
      • Broken wrist
      • Broken hip
      • Broken leg
      • Broken toe
      • Broken shoulder
      • What are the signs and symptoms of a broken bone?
      • When should I call a doctor if I think I have broken a bone?
      • How is a broken bone diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for a broken bone?
      • What about surgery for a broken bone?
      • How can fractures be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis for a broken bone?
    • Coccydynia (Tailbone Pain) Coccydynia is an inflammation of the bony area (tailbone or coccyx) located between the buttocks. Coccydynia is associated with...learn more »
      In This Article
      Coccydynia (Tailbone Pain) Article
      • Coccydynia facts
      • What is coccydynia?
      • What causes coccydynia?
      • What are risk factors for coccydynia?
      • What are coccydynia symptoms and signs?
      • How is coccydynia diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for coccydynia?
      • What is the prognosis for coccydynia?
      • Is it possible to prevent coccydynia?
    • Degenerative Disc Disease & Sciatica Degenerative disc disease makes the disc more susceptible to herniation (rupture) which can lead to localized or radiating pain....learn more »
      In This Article
      Degenerative Disc Disease & Sciatica Article
      • Degenerative disc disease and sciatica facts
      • How is the spine designed?
      • What is the purpose of the spine and its discs?
      • What causes degenerative disc disease?
      • What are the symptoms of degenerative disc disease?
      • What are radiculopathy and sciatica? What are the symptoms?
      • How are degenerative disc disease, radiculopathy, and sciatica diagnosed?
      • How is radiculopathy treated?
      • What is bony encroachment and spinal stenosis?
      • What is the outlook (prognosis) of degenerative disc disease, radiculopathy, and sciatica?
      • Can degenerative disc disease, radiculopathy, and sciatica be prevented?
    • Dengue Fever Dengue fever is contracted from the bite of a striped Aedes aegypti mosquito. Symptoms of dengue include headache, fever,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Dengue Fever Article
      • Dengue fever facts
      • What is dengue fever?
      • What geographic areas are at high risk for contracting dengue fever?
      • How is dengue fever contracted?
      • What are dengue fever symptoms and signs?
      • How is dengue fever diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for dengue fever?
      • What is the prognosis for typical dengue fever?
      • What is dengue hemorrhagic fever?
      • How can dengue fever be prevented?
      • Where can people get more information on dengue fever?
    • Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH or Forestier's disease) is a form of degenerative arthritis. It is characterized...learn more »
      In This Article
      Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis Article
      • Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) facts
      • What is diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis?
      • What causes diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis?
      • What are symptoms and signs of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis?
      • How is diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis?
      • What is the outlook (prognosis) for patients with diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis?
      • Can diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis be prevented?
    • Endometriosis Endometriosis implants are most commonly found on the ovaries, the Fallopian tubes, outer surfaces of the uterus or intestines,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Endometriosis Article
      • Endometriosis facts
      • What is endometriosis?
      • Who is affected by endometriosis?
      • What causes endometriosis?
      • What are endometriosis symptoms?
      • Endometriosis and cancer risk
      • How is endometriosis diagnosed?
      • How is endometriosis treated?
      • Medical treatment of endometriosis
      • Surgical treatment of endometriosis
      • Treatment of infertility associated with endometriosis
    • Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and tender points. Stress...learn more »
      In This Article
      Fibromyalgia Article
      • Fibromyalgia facts
      • What is fibromyalgia?
      • What causes fibromyalgia?
      • Is fibromyalgia hereditary?
      • What are risk factors for fibromyalgia?
      • What are fibromyalgia symptoms and signs?
      • How do physicians diagnose fibromyalgia?
      • What is the treatment for fibromyalgia?
      • Are there any home remedies for fibromyalgia?
      • Does diet or exercise affect fibromyalgia?
      • What is the prognosis of fibromyalgia?
      • Is it possible to prevent fibromyalgia?
      • Are there support groups for fibromyalgia?
      • What is the latest research on fibromyalgia?
    • Flatfoot (Pes Planus) Flatfoot is a disorder in which the foot's entire sole is touching the ground while standing. Symptoms and signs of flatfoot...learn more »
      In This Article
      Flatfoot (Pes Planus) Article
      • What is flatfoot?
      • What are the different types of flatfoot?
      • What are other causes of flatfoot?
      • What are flatfoot symptoms and signs?
      • How is flatfoot diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for flatfoot?
      • What is the prognosis of flatfoot?
    • Head and Neck Cancer Head and neck cancer is cancer of the oral cavity, salivary glands, paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, or lymph...learn more »
      In This Article
      Head and Neck Cancer Article
      • Head and neck cancer facts*
      • What is cancer?
      • What kinds of cancers are considered cancers of the head and neck?
      • How common are head and neck cancers?
      • What causes head and neck cancers?
      • What are common symptoms of head and neck cancers?
      • How are head and neck cancers diagnosed?
      • What health professionals treat patients with head and neck cancers?
      • How are head and neck cancers treated?
      • Are clinical trials (research studies) available for patients with head and neck cancers?
      • What rehabilitation or support options are available for patients with head and neck cancers?
      • Is follow-up treatment necessary? What does it involve?
      • What can people who have had head and neck cancer do to reduce the risk of developing a second primary (new) cancer?
    • Herniated Disc A herniated disc may be caused by injury or degeneration from age. Symptoms depend on the location of the herniation and whether...learn more »
      In This Article
      Herniated Disc Article
      • Herniated disc facts
      • How are the spine and its discs designed?
      • What is a herniated disc? What causes it?
      • What are symptoms of a herniated disc?
      • How is a herniated disc diagnosed?
      • How is a herniated disc treated?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for a herniated disc?
      • Can a herniated disc be prevented?
    • Kidney Stones Kidney stones are solid masses of crystalline material that form in the kidneys. Symptoms of kidney stones can include pain,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Kidney Stones Article
      • Kidney stone facts
      • What is a kidney stone?
      • Who is at risk for kidney stones?
      • What causes kidney stones?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of kidney stones?
      • How are kidney stones diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for kidney stones? How long does it take to pass a kidney stone?
      • Can kidney stones be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis for kidney stones?
    • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Lumbar stenosis can be caused by degenerative arthritis (the most common cause), tumor, infection, or metabolic disorders...learn more »
      In This Article
      Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Article
      • Lumbar spinal stenosis facts
      • What is the lumbar spine, and what is lumbar spinal stenosis?
      • What causes lumbar spinal stenosis?
      • What are risk factors for lumbar spinal stenosis?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis?
      • How is lumbar spinal stenosis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis?
      • What can be done to prevent lumbar spinal stenosis?
      • What is the outlook (prognosis) for lumbar spinal stenosis?
    • Neck Pain (Cervical Pain) Neck pain (cervical pain) may be caused by any number of disorders and diseases. Tenderness is another symptom of neck pain....learn more »
      In This Article
      Neck Pain (Cervical Pain) Article
      • What is neck pain? What are causes and risk factors for neck pain?
      • What are other symptoms that are associated with neck pain?
      • What are the structures of the neck?
      • How is neck pain diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for neck pain? What are home remedies for neck pain?
      • What is the prognosis for neck pain?
      • Is it possible to prevent neck pain?
    • Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. Also...learn more »
      In This Article
      Osteoarthritis Article
      • Osteoarthritis facts
      • What is osteoarthritis?
      • What causes osteoarthritis?
      • What are osteoarthritis symptoms and signs?
      • How is osteoarthritis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for osteoarthritis?
      • "If I have minimal or no symptoms with early signs of osteoarthritis, what should I do?"
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with osteoarthritis?
      • Can osteoarthritis be prevented?
      • What does the future hold for osteoarthritis?
      • Where can people get more information about osteoarthritis?
    • Osteoporosis Learn about osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the loss of bone density, which leads to an increased risk of bone...learn more »
      In This Article
      Osteoporosis Article
      • Osteoporosis facts
      • What is osteoporosis?
      • What are osteoporosis symptoms and signs?
      • What are the consequences of osteoporosis?
      • Why is osteoporosis an important public-health issue?
      • What factors determine bone strength?
      • What are osteoporosis risk factors and causes?
      • How is osteoporosis diagnosed?
      • Who should have bone density testing?
      • What is the treatment for osteoporosis, and can osteoporosis be prevented?
      • Exercise, quitting cigarettes, and curtailing alcohol
      • Calcium supplements
      • Vitamin D
      • Hormone therapy (menopausal hormone therapy)
      • Medications that prevent bone loss and breakdown
      • Choosing an osteoporosis medication
      • Prevention of osteoporosis due to long-term corticosteroids
      • Monitoring osteoporosis therapy
      • Prevention of hip fractures in elderly people with osteoporosis
      • What are complications of osteoporosis?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with osteoporosis?
    • Paget's Disease Paget's disease is a chronic bone disorder due to irregular breakdown and formation of bone tissue. Symptoms of Paget's disease...learn more »
      In This Article
      Paget's Disease Article
      • Paget's disease facts
      • What is Paget's disease?
      • What causes Paget's disease?
      • What are Paget's disease symptoms?
      • How is Paget's disease diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for Paget's disease?
      • What is the prognosis for Paget's disease?
      • Who discovered Paget's disease?
      • Where can I find more information about Paget's disease?
    • Pancreatic Cancer Pancreatic cancer is a malignant tumor of the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer has been called a "silent" disease because early...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pancreatic Cancer Article
      • Pancreatic cancer facts
      • What is the pancreas, and what is the function of the pancreas?
      • What is cancer?
      • What is pancreatic cancer?
      • What are pancreatic cancer causes and risk factors?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of pancreatic cancer?
      • How is the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer made?
      • How is pancreatic cancer staged?
      • What is the treatment for resectable pancreatic cancer?
      • What is the treatment for locally advanced unresectable pancreatic cancer?
      • What is the treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer?
      • What are the side effects of pancreatic cancer treatment?
      • What is the prognosis of pancreatic cancer?
      • What research is being done on pancreatic cancer?
      • Is complimentary or alternative medicine effective in pancreatic cancer treatment?
      • Can pancreatic cancer be prevented?
      • Where can people get support when coping with pancreatic cancer?
      • Where can people find additional information about pancreatic cancer?
    • Pregnancy (Week By Week, Trimesters) There are many symptoms involved in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy. The first early pregnancy symptom is typically...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pregnancy (Week By Week, Trimesters) Article
      • Pregnancy facts*
      • Introduction
      • What is the first trimester (week 1-week 12)?
      • What is the second trimester (week 13-week 28)?
      • What is the third trimester (week 29-week 40)?
      • How will my baby develop week by week?
      • What are the changes that happen to a woman's body during her 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy?
      • Body aches
      • Breast changes
      • Constipation
      • Dizziness
      • Fatigue, sleep problems
      • Heartburn and indigestion
      • Hemorrhoids during pregnancy
      • Itching
      • Leg cramps
      • Morning sickness
      • Nasal problems
      • Numb or tingling hands
      • Stretch marks, skin changes
      • Swelling
      • Urinary frequency and leaking
      • Varicose veins
    • Psoriatic Arthritis Psoriatic arthritis is a disease that causes skin and joint inflammation. Symptoms include painful, stiff, and swollen joints,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Psoriatic Arthritis Article
      • Psoriatic arthritis facts
      • What is psoriatic arthritis?
      • What causes psoriatic arthritis?
      • What are risk factors for developing psoriatic arthritis?
      • What are psoriatic arthritis symptoms and signs?
      • How does the doctor diagnose psoriatic arthritis?
      • What is the treatment for psoriatic arthritis?
      • Disease-modifying medications
      • What are complications of psoriatic arthritis?
      • What is the outlook (prognosis) for patients with psoriatic arthritis?
      • Can psoriatic arthritis be prevented?
      • Is there a psoriatic arthritis diet?
      • What does the future hold for patients with psoriatic arthritis?
    • Reactive Arthritis Reactive arthritis is a chronic, systemic rheumatic disease characterized by three conditions, including conjunctivitis, joint...learn more »
      In This Article
      Reactive Arthritis Article
      • Reactive arthritis facts
      • What is reactive arthritis?
      • What causes reactive arthritis?
      • What are risk factors for developing reactive arthritis?
      • What are reactive arthritis symptoms and signs?
      • How is reactive arthritis diagnosed?
      • How is reactive arthritis treated?
      • What is the prognosis of reactive arthritis?
      • Can reactive arthritis be prevented?
      • What does the future hold for reactive arthritis?
    • Sciatica Sciatica pain, caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve, typically radiates from the low back to behind the thigh to below the...learn more »
    • Scoliosis Scoliosis causes an abnormal curvature of the spine. When the cause of scoliosis is unknown the disorder is described based on...learn more »
      In This Article
      Scoliosis Article
      • Scoliosis facts
      • What is scoliosis?
      • What causes scoliosis?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of scoliosis?
      • How is scoliosis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for scoliosis?
      • What is the prognosis for scoliosis?
      • Is there a cure for scoliosis?
      • Where can people get more information on scoliosis?
    • Shingles Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the varicella zoster virus. Other symptoms include headache, fever,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Shingles Article
      • Shingles facts
      • What is shingles? What does shingles look like?
      • What causes shingles?
      • What are risk factors for shingles?
      • What is the contagious period for shingles?
      • What are shingles symptoms and signs?
      • How is shingles diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for shingles?
      • Are there any home remedies for shingles?
      • What is the duration of a shingles outbreak?
      • What are complications of shingles?
      • What can be done for recurrent shingles?
      • What is the prognosis of shingles?
      • Is it possible to prevent shingles with a vaccine?
    • Sprains and Strains An injury to a ligament is called a sprain, and an injury to muscle or tendon is called a strain. Sprains and strains may be...learn more »
      In This Article
      Sprains and Strains Article
      • Muscle sprains and strains facts
      • What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?
      • What causes a sprain or strain?
      • Where do sprains and strains usually occur?
      • What are sprain symptoms and signs?
      • How are sprains and strains diagnosed?
      • How are sprains and strains treated?
      • What is the recovery time for sprains and strains?
      • Can sprains and strains be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis of sprains and strains?
      • Where can people find more information about sprains and strains?
    • Testicular Cancer Testicular cancer symptoms include a painless lump or swelling in a testicle, testicle or scrotum pain, a dull ache in the...learn more »
      In This Article
      Testicular Cancer Article
      • Testicular cancer facts*
      • What is testicular cancer?
      • What are testicular cancer risk factors and causes?
      • How is testicular cancer detected? What are testicular cancer symptoms and warning signs?
      • How is testicular cancer diagnosed?
      • How is testicular cancer treated? What are the side effects of treatment for testicular cancer?
      • Is follow-up treatment necessary for testicular cancer? What does it involve?
      • Are clinical trials (research studies) available for men with testicular cancer?
    • Typhus Typhus is a disease caused by Rickettsia bacteria. Symptoms and signs include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Typhus Article
      • Typhus facts
      • What is typhus? Are there different types of typhus?
      • What is the history of typhus?
      • What causes typhus? How is typhus transmitted?
      • What are typhus risk factors?
      • What are typhus symptoms and signs?
      • How is typhus diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for typhus?
      • What is the prognosis of typhus?
      • Can typhus be prevented?
      • Where can people get more information about typhus?
    • Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection is the most common type of infection acquired by patients while hospitalized....learn more »
      In This Article
      Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) Article
      • Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) facts
      • What are vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE)?
      • What causes a vancomycin-resistant enterococcal (VRE) infection?
      • What are risk factors for vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infections?
      • How are vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) transmitted?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of a vancomycin-resistant enterococcal (VRE) infection?
      • How do physicians diagnose vancomycin-resistant enterococcal (VRE) infections?
      • What is the treatment for a vancomycin-resistant enterococcal (VRE) infection?
      • What is the prognosis of a vancomycin-resistant enterococcal (VRE) infection?
      • What are the complications of VRE infections?
      • Is it possible to prevent vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infections?
      • What precautions should people take when tending to someone with a vancomycin-resistant enterococcal (VRE) infection?
      • What research is being done on vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE)?
      • Where can people find more information on vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infections?
    • Yellow Fever Yellow fever is an infectious disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Side effects are rare with the yellow fever vaccine....learn more »
      In This Article
      Yellow Fever Article
      • Yellow fever facts
      • What is yellow fever? What is the history of yellow fever?
      • What causes yellow fever?
      • How is yellow fever transmitted?
      • What areas are high risk for contracting yellow fever?
      • What is the incubation period for yellow fever?
      • What are yellow fever symptoms and signs?
      • How is yellow fever diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for yellow fever?
      • What is the prognosis for people with yellow fever?
      • Can yellow fever be prevented?
      • Where can people get more information on yellow fever?
Other Causes of Back Pain
Examples of Medications for Back Pain


Symptoms & Signs A-Z List