Referred lower back pain is pain felt in the lower back but caused from structures outside the back itself. Finding the cause of your lower back pain is the key to long-term relief. There are three major categories of back pain. In this article, the second of a three-part series, we discuss some common causes for referred lower back pain.
By: Dr. Joe Musolino
In order to effectively treat lower back pain, it is critically important to accurately identify the source of the pain. Most cases of lower back pain are caused by tissues in or adjacent to the lumbar spine, therefore the pain is felt in the lower back area. However, often times the pain originates in areas outside of the lumbar spine. In addition, there are times when pain originating in the lumbar spine can be felt in areas away from the lumbar spine — sometimes as far as the lower legs. This type of pain is known as “referred lower back pain.” Referred pain can be frustrating for patients who have lower back pain that is not responding to treatment. Depending on the cause of your pain treatment options can be alternative (massage, acupuncture, chiropractic) or conventional (prescriptive medication, cortisone injections, invasive surgery).
INCOMING REFERRED LOWER BACK PAIN – PAIN THAT ORIGINATES OUTSIDE OF THE LUMBAR SPINE
Sources of referred pain that are felt in the lower back but originate elsewhere include the internal organs, cancerous tumors, and blood vessels, to name a few. For instance, kidney stone pain is easily identified because it causes intense pain in the lower rib area. Kidney stone pain fluctuates in intensity, causes nausea and exquisite tenderness to gentle tapping of the flank. Another example is in patients with cancer that is primarily causing lower back pain. These individuals will often see unexplained weight loss of more than five percent of their usual body weight. Also, the pain is not relieved by bedrest, a major red flag. Finally, another example is an aneurysm of the aorta, the main blood vessel that exits the heart. These cases typically present in men in their sixties and older as a mid-abdominal mass that can easily be detected by palpation.
OUTGOING REFERRED LOWER BACK PAIN THAT ORIGINATES IN THE LUMBAR SPINE AND IS FELT IN OTHER AREAS
Lower back pain that originates in the lumbar spine but is felt elsewhere can affect the pelvis, hips, buttocks and legs. These cases of referred pain usually come from the lumbar intervertebral discs, muscles, joint capsules, or ligaments. A highly trained chiropractor can effectively identify the underlying cause of pain after a thorough history and musculoskeletal exam. Once the cause of the pain is determined, a treatment plan that addresses the source of your pain can begin.
Chiropractic physicians are the premier health care providers at diagnosing lower back pain. They are well-trained in identifying the location of the cause so that the appropriate treatment can be given. The chiropractors at First Health Associates will take the time to discuss your lower back pain and do an extensive examination. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan, or refer you to an expert who can give help.
In addition to chiropractic treatment, we have on staff medical physician Jason Gruss, MD. FAAPM&R. Dr Gruss specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation and is trained in the non-surgical treatment and relief of lower back pain.
Since 1981, First Health Associates has been providing exceptional health care to residents of Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect, Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove, Rolling Meadows, Palatine, Elk Grove and Des Plaines. First Health is an integrative medicine practice that offers: Medical Care; Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine; Counseling and Behavioral Therapy; and Chiropractic Care.Leave a reply →