Non-Spinal Issues That Could Be Causing Your Back Pain

On any given workday, nearly 2% of all workers in the United States are off work with back pain. This carries a health care expense burden that could reach $60 billion a year. Most cases of back pain are due to problems with the musculoskeletal and neural systems of the spine, your body’s primary vertical support and communications conduit. However, there are causes of back pain that have nothing to do with your spine, and some can lead to a confused diagnosis.

Back pain that isn’t related mechanically to the spine, its support tissue, or direct nerve compression is relatively rare, but in some cases, these pain symptoms result from serious conditions that may need urgent or immediate medical attention. Today, we investigate some of these non-spinal reasons for back pain.

Aortic aneurysms

The abdominal aorta is a major blood vessel that supplies blood to the lower abdomen and below. As an aneurysm grows, the enlarged aorta may exert enough pressure to cause back pain. Typically, when it becomes large enough to cause pain, its risk of rupture is greatly increased.

Cancerous tumors

Tumors don’t often cause back pain. Cancer can start in your back, but it’s more likely that you’ve developed a tumor elsewhere in your body and it’s migrated to your back. You may already be aware you have cancer before back pain occurs, but there’s a slight chance it could be your first symptom.


When tissue that normally grows on the uterine walls — the endometrium — accumulates in places outside of the uterus, the condition is called endometriosis. It can cause pain that resembles menstrual cramping, but it’s not limited to that, and in some cases, it could be the origin of pain in your back.


Reasons behind the cause of fibromyalgia are largely speculative, though it’s known that this chronic pain syndrome changes the way its sufferers experience pain. You may experience muscle pain anywhere in your body, and this includes your back. There’s typically no mechanical reason for the pain, and fibromyalgia usually features symptoms of fatigue.


If an infection isn’t the first thing you think of when your back is sore, there’s a good reason. Infections rarely cause back pain on their own. However, a systemic infection could affect the discs of your spine, vertebrae, or connective tissue. While your spinal tissue is affected, infections may not originate in the spine.

Kidney stones

Hard deposits, most commonly forming from calcium, occasionally enter the urinary tract exiting the kidneys. When a stone is large enough, its passage creates intense pain in the middle to lower back, usually occurring in waves that pass and return as the stone makes its way through your system. This pain is easy to mistake for back pain, particularly for first-time sufferers.

While most back pain is mechanical and usually resolves on its own with rest, there’s no way to ensure it’s not a more serious issue that isn’t spine-related. Contact Chesapeake ERgent Care by phone or online and take advantage of our extended hours for prompt attention, even if you have a primary care physician. There’s no need to tolerate back pain while you wonder.

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