back pain

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to back pain: Lower back pain

back pain

See Low back pain.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

back pain

Pain felt in or along the spine or musculature of the posterior thorax. It is usually characterized by dull, continuous pain and tenderness in the muscles or their attachments in the lower lumbar, lumbosacral, or sacroiliac regions. Back pain is often referred to the leg or legs, following the distribution of the sciatic nerve.


Common causes of back pain include pain caused by muscular or tendon strain, herniated intervertebral disk, lumbar spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis. Patients with a history of cancer may have back pain caused by metastatic tumors to the vertebrae and should be evaluated to be certain that damage to the spinal cord is not imminent. Patients with back pain and fever (esp. those with a history of injection drug use, tuberculosis, or recent back surgery) should be evaluated for epidural abscess or osteomyelitis.


Depending on the underlying cause of the back pain, treatment may include drugs, rest, massage, physical therapy, chiropractic, stretching exercises, injection therapy, and surgery, among others. Most nonmalignant causes of back pain improve with a few days of rest, analgesics, and antiinflammatory drugs, followed by 2 to 4 weeks of anti-inflammatory treatment, appropriate muscle strengthening, and patience. Pain caused by an osteoporotic fracture may prove more debilitating and longer-lasting. Back pain produced by a spinal metastasis can improve with corticosteroids, radiation therapy, intravenous bisphosphonates, and/or surgical decompression. Patients with a spinal epidural abscess will need surgical drainage of the infection and antibiotics.

Patient care

Prolonged bedrest is inadvisable in most patients with back pain. The treatment regimen is explained, implemented, and reinforced. Factors that precipitate symptoms are identified and preventive actions are discussed.

See also: pain
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners

Patient discussion about back pain

Q. My son is complaining about back pain. I also see that his back isn't straight. What can we do? My son is a adorable 8 years old. He is complaining about back pain, that bothers him after he walks a little. I also saw that his back isn't straight and looks like a S. is this deformity connected to his back pain?

A. The normal shape of the spine is very similar to the "S" shape as you can see here
But even if his back isn't deformated, he has back pain and you need to take care of that by going to your pediatrician.

Q. I want to know the treatments for back pain

A. well, tester1234, you are asking a very general question. back pain is a symptom. and the best way to get rid of a symptom is by eliminating the cause. back pain have many causes- not sitting right, posture problems, Spinal disc herniation, muscles not strong and long enough, kidney problems sometime feels like lower back problems. i had a problem with posture. so i went to Rolfing therapist- really helped.

Q. I have a lower back pain for more than 3 months what should I do? I am a 55 years old man, and i work as a truck-driver. In the last 3 months i have a back ache that is disturbing my life. Its really annoying me. When I wake up I am usually fine, but after 10 minutes of driving the pain starts and it doesn't stop till I go back to bed. What can I do? my GP told me to take Tylenol, but it's just not helping.

A. A constant low back pain can be a result of a lot of things. A friend of mine (63 years old) had a back pain and she didn't pay enough attention to it assuming its just nothing. In the end it was due to metastatic lung cancer.
here you can see the major "Red Flags" that encourage you take an extra appointment with your GP

More discussions about back pain
This content is provided by iMedix and is subject to iMedix Terms. The Questions and Answers are not endorsed or recommended and are made available by patients, not doctors.
References in periodicals archive ?
"Pain lasting longer than three months is classified as 'chronic back pain' - and indicates that any treatment carried out in the initial three months has not been successful.
Three out of five declared sufferers in Shropshire reported having severe back pain - a total of 33,552 people.
The lecture, titled 'Diagnosis of Low Back Pain', was accredited locally by the Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners-Accreditation Department (QCHP-AD) and internationally by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).
Ref: 'The course of back pain in the Canadian population: trajectories, predictors, and outcomes.' (DOI: 10.1002/acr.23811).
"Type 2 diabetes and low back pain both have a strong relationship with obesity and lack of physical activity, so a logical progression of this research might be to examine these factors in more detail.
One of the most common causes of back pain is mechanical back pain, which is caused by weak musculature and cannot be seen in an X-ray or MRI.
Back Pain "Truths" Finally Exposed This report exposes how weekly (and costly) visits to a chiropractor are NOT always needed, and how pain medications and muscle relaxers might be just 'easy' for a doctor to prescribe, but may not necessarily be right for you in the long run...
They recommend considering nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or skeletal muscle relaxants for patients who want medications for acute or subacute low back pain. There is moderate-quality evidence that NSAIDs confer a small analgesic benefit, compared with placebo, but their renal and gastrointestinal risks call for careful patient selection and use of the lowest possible doses and treatment durations, the authors emphasized.
Low back pain (LBP) is one of the commonest musculoskeletal disorders disabling people worldwide.
your body's way of telling you you've The findings come after a report in medical journal The Lancet earlier this year stated disability due to back pain has risen by more than 50 per cent since 1990.
Catherine adds: "You can MRI lots of people with back pain and not see anything at all.
These figures are from the latest Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic annual report, Managing Neck and Back Pain in America, which surveyed more than 5,000 U.S.