When Back Pain Isn’t Caused By Your Back

Houston Chiropractor Comments: It seems odd when you say it, but sometimes back pain isn’t caused by your back. As a chiropractor, we are trained to determine the cause of someone’s back pain. This allows us to determine if the complaint is minor and can be handled out of the office with stretches and exercises, if it is a chiropractic problem that requires spinal adjustments and therapy or does the problem require medical attention. After being a chiropractor for 28 years I have seen many cases where the back pain wasn’t coming from the spine, but somewhere else.

One of the worst things that can be happening is that the patient is having an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Occasionally in individuals older than 60 with high blood pressure or genetic diseases, the aorta can stretch out and pain from this can refer to the back. The danger is that this vessel can rupture and may possibly need to be fixed surgically.

A more common cause is a gynecological problem such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts or a pelvic infection. It is important to get a thorough history of the patient’s cycles and activities to help rule this in or out.

Kidney infections are famous for referring pain to one side of the back near where the ribs meet the lower back. This is called costovertebral tenderness and is elicited by percussing at the lowest ribs along the side the spine. Severe pain in this region can be an indicator of a kidney infection.

Gall bladder attacks can also cause back pain. These attacks are typically a “crampy” type of pain occurring after a fatty meal that gets better and then worse.

Intestinal complaints such as ulcers and diverticulitis can also refer pain to the spine when the intestine becomes inflamed or irritated. A proper history and examination will help to determine if this is the cause.

Finally a pulled muscle from the ribs or abdomen can refer pain to the spine.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!