Back pain causes

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Back pain Microchapters


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Differentiating Back Pain from other Diseases

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Back Pain

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor-In-Chief:Hilda Mahmoudi M.D., M.P.H.[2]


The causes of back pain can be stratified according to age. Common causes of back pain in adults under the age of 50 years include ligament strain, nerve root irritation, spinal disc herniation, degenerative disc disease and isthmic spondylolisthesis. Common causes in adults over the age of 50 years include osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), spinal stenosis,[1] trauma, cancer, infection, fractures, and inflammatory disease.[2] Non-anatomical factors can also contribute to or cause back pain, such as stress, repressed anger, or depression. Even if an anatomical cause for the pain is present, a coexistent depression should be treated concurrently. When back pain lasts more than three months or when sciatica is present, a more specific diagnosis can be made.


Life Threatening Causes

Common Causes

Causes by Organ System


Abdominal aortic aneurysm, angina pectoris, aortic dissection, bacterial endocarditis, Leriche's syndrome, myocardial infarction, traumatic aortic rupture

Chemical / poisoning No underlying causes
Dermatologic Pilonidal cyst
Drug Side Effect

Abatacept, acitretin, albuterol, aldesleukin, alprazolam, amitriptyline, anagrelide, angiotensin II receptor antagonist, Artemether and lumefantrin, Bicalutamide, budesonide inhalation powder, calcitonin salmon nasal spray, candesartan, carbamazepine, carboplatin, caspofungin acetate, cetuximab injection, ciclesonide, clofarabine injection, cyanocobalamin injection, Dalfampridine, darbepoetin alfa injection, daunorubicin, desloratadine, didanosine, diflunisal, dofetilide, donepezil, drotrecogin alfa, Eculizumab, Eliglustat, efalizumab injection, epoetin alfa injection, eszopiclone, etodolac, fenoprofen, fexofenadine, formoterol, fulvestrant, glatiramer injection, ibandronate, Imiglucerase, indinavir, infliximab injection, leflunomide, lenalidomide, Lorcaserin, Losartan and Hydrochlorothiazide, meclofenamate, medroxyprogesterone injection, mefenamic acid, mesalamine, Meropenem, Mifepristone, modafinil, mycophenolate, Nabilone, nabumetone, nateglinide oral, Niacin/simvastatin, Olaparib, olanzapine, oxaliplatin injection, oxcarbazepine, oxybutynin, pergolide, piroxicam, posaconazole, praziquantel, pregabalin, ranibizumab injection, repaglinide, ribavirin, risedronate, rituximab injection, Ramucirumab, Roflumilast, rosiglitazone, salsalate, saquinavir, sargramostim injection, selegiline, sibutramine, Sipuleucel-T, sirolimus, sodium oxybate, solifenacin, sulfinpyrazone, sulindac, sunitinib, tacrolimus topical, tadalafil, tamsulosin, tegaserod, telbivudine, telmisartan, temozolomide, terazosin, Travoprost, Valdecoxib, valganciclovir, valproic acid, valsartan, vancomycin hydrochloride, vardenafil, zolpidem, zonisamide

Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes

Addisons disease, Cushing's Disease, hyperparathyroidism

Environmental Cadmium poisoning

Achalasia, cholelithiasis, pancreatitis, peptic ulcer disease


Marfan syndrome, spina bifida, osteogenesis imperfecta, sickle cell disease

Hematologic No underlying causes
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease

Borreliosis, cat scratch fever, herpes zoster, Pott's disease, rift valley fever, urinary tract infection

Musculoskeletal / Ortho

Abnormal posturing, ankylosing spondylitis, cervical fracture, coxarthrosis, cramp, degenerative disc disease, disc space infection, dorsopathy, gonarthrosis, lumbar disc disease, muscle strain, myelofibrosis, myositis, myotendinosis, osteoarthritis, osteochondroma, osteochondrosis, osteogenesis imperfecta, osteogenic sarcoma, osteomalacia, osteomyelitis, osteoporosis, paget's disease, piriformis syndrome, poliomyelitis, polymyalgia rheumatica, Pott's disease, psoriatic arthritis, spinal disc herniation, spinal fusion, spinal stenosis, spinal tumor, spondylolisthesis, spondylolysis, spondylosis, sacroiliitis, sciatica, scoliosis, vertebral fractures, vertebral subluxation


Arachnoiditis, cauda equina syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, dural ectasia, epidural abscess, posterior rami syndrome, subarachnoid hemorrhage, syringomyelia, tabes dorsalis, transverse myelitis

Nutritional / Metabolic

Osteomalacia, osteoporosis


Cervical cancer, childbirth, ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis, menopause, ovarian cancer, pregnancy, salpingitis


Cervical cancer, desmoplastic small round cell tumor, hemangioma, lung cancer, meningioma, multiple myeloma, osteogenic Sarcoma, ovarian cancer

Opthalmologic Reiter's Syndrome
Overdose / Toxicity Bearberry

Alexithymia, conversion syndrome, psychosomatic, tension myositis syndrome


Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, lung cancer, pleuritis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism

Renal / Electrolyte

Urinary obstruction, nephrolithiasis, polycystic kidney disease, pyelonephritis, renal osteodystrophy, renal vein thrombosis

Rheum / Immune / Allergy

Ankylosing spondylitis, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, rheumatoid Arthritis

Sexual No underlying causes


Urologic Acute prostatitis

Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, dysraphia, facet Syndrome, mediastinitis, retroperitoneal fibrosis, retroperitoneal hematoma, Scheuermann's disease

Causes in Alphabetical Order


  1. "Lower Back Pain Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment". Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  2. "Back Pain Information Page: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)". Retrieved 2013-03-05.