Disease: Cause of Back Pain

In most cases, the cause of back pain relates to either sprains or strains of the ligaments and muscles of your back, or due to degenerative conditions to one or more structures of the spine which eventually affect the spinal nerves. In some cases, though, a person's back pain may be a symptom of a disease or more serious medical condition. Here are some diseases that may present with the symptoms of back pain and /or related neurologic symptoms.

Scoliosis: Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. In a medical exam, if you were to evaluate the curvature of a patient's spine, you would have them take their shirt off and stand directly behind them. In a person with a healthy spinal curvature, the spine would look straight, the person's hips would appear to be in normal alignment, and the person's shoulders would be of the same height. In a person with scoliosis, the spine may take on a C or S shaped curve, the hips may be visibly rotated, and one shoulder may be visibly higher than the other.

In the vast majority of cases, the cause of the condition remains unknown (idiopathic scoliosis) and the condition develops at an early age. In other cases, the condition is apparent at birth. Congenital scoliosis is scoliosis that is identified at birth and is caused by a bone abnormality.

Neuromuscular scoliosis is a neurologic disease that results in the abnormal development of the muscles and nerves. The abnormal development of the muscles and nerves often leads to disability and paralysis and will usually result in an abnormal curvature of the spine as well.

Other types of scoliosis occur in late adulthood or as the result of a traumatic event which affects the structure of spine. Degenerative scoliosis may occur due to accidents fractures of the vertebral bones, compression fractures of the vertebra due to osteoporosis, and as the result of a previous major back surgery.

Osteomyelitis: Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. In cases of osteomyelitis, the vertebral bones may become infection due to a systemic infection, as a complication from a back surgery, due to other needle punctures, or due to other types of diseases and conditions. There are a variety of infectious diseases which may cause the bone to become infected, but the most likely cause if Osteomyelitis is due to the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. In most cases, the vertebral bones are infected by a staph bacteria.

The infection of one or more of the bones of the spine by the staph bacteria Staphylococcus aureus may occur directly due to a trauma near the bone, of the infection may have spread there from another part of the body. This type of infection is relatively rare, and only 0.01% of people ever develop it in their life. Pain injections are one type of minimally invasive back surgery that may cause this type of infection. Osteomyelitis may develop as a complication of back surgery. Other causes of this type of infection include the long-term use of steroids, alcoholism, intravenous drug use, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell anemia, and diabetes. Diabetes is the number one contributing factor in a patient's development of this infection.

Nephrolithiasis (Kidney Stones): In humans, there are a pair of kidneys that are anchored to the posterior abdominal wall. These kidneys lie in the dorsal (back) side of our bodies and are located at about the T10-T11 levels of out spines. The kidneys depress slightly downwards when we are in the upright position. The kidneys in the body serves a variety of functions, though its main function is the eliminate waste products and toxins from the blood and eliminate them from the body. The kidneys produce a clear or watery urine that pass these products out of the body through the ureters, bladder, and urethra. Due to a variety of medical conditions, small crystallized grains salt and minerals may collect in the ducts of the kidneys or the ureters which the urine of kidneys empty into. When these crystallized "pebbles " become lodged in the ureters, the result may be abdominal pain or lower back pain.

Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones throughout the body, though the weight-bearing bones are the most at risk of collapse due to this condition. Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mineral density, which results in a weakening of the bones that make them more prone to fracture. Osteoporosis is not a condition that results in bone pain, unless the weakening of the bone results in a fracture. In the human spine, the weight bearing part of the vertebra, known as the body of the vertebra, collapses in on itself, resulting in an instability of the spine. Nutrition may have a role in the cause of osteoporosis. A person with a diet that is habitually deficient in Calcium and Vitamin D may be at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis.