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Learn about your back numbness, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your back numbness from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Back Numbness Checker

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Your Back Numbness May Also be Known as:
Back tingling
Can't feel back
Can't feel flank
Can't feel lower back
Can't feel lower spine
Can't feel mid back
Can't feel mid spine
Can't feel oblique
Can't feel side

Top 10 Back Numbness Causes

  1. 1.Acute Costochondritis (Chest Wall Syndrome)

    Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone. Pain caused by costochondritis may mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.

    You can safely treat this condition on your own by taking over-the-counter pain relief medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil). Local heat or ice compress can also improve symptoms.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    rib pain, chest pain that is worse when breathing, chest pain, rib pain when moving, pain when pressing on the chest
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  2. 2.Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread pain, tenderness, and fatigue.

    Fibromyalgia is treated symptomatically. Medication, therapy, and stress reduction may reduce symptoms.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, anxiety, trouble sleeping, depressed mood, headache
    Symptoms that always occur with fibromyalgia:
    hidden: arthralgias or myalgias
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway filled with ligament and bones at the base of your hand. It contains nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the nerve to be compressed. Symptoms usually start gradually, and as they worsen, grasping objects can become difficult.

    Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent permanent nerve damage. Your doctor will diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome with a physical exam and special nerve tests. Treatment includes resting your hand, splints, pain and anti-inflammatory medicines. If symptoms do not improve with these less invasive treatments, your physician may recommend surgery.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous shoulder pain, hand weakness, wrist pain, pain in one hand, weakness in one hand
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

    Impingement syndrome is a common shoulder condition seen in aging adults. The tendons of rotator cuff muscles, whose action is to rotate the arm such such as during a tennis swing, pass in a narrow space between two bones in the shoulder. When the space becomes too narrow, which can happen as a result of an overuse injury, pain may develop as the tendons rub against the bones.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will coordinate care with a muscle and bone specialist (orthopedic surgeon). Treatments for impingement syndrome involve rest, over-the-counter pain medication, steroid injections, physical therapy, and surgery in rare, serious cases.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, dull, achy shoulder pain, shoulder pain that gets worse at night, difficulty moving the shoulder, shoulder pain from overuse
    Symptoms that always occur with rotator cuff tendonitis:
    pain in one shoulder
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Normal Occurence of Chest Pain

    Many people experience chest pain and it's not always indicative of a serious issue.

    You most likely have nothing to worry about, particularly if you are otherwise healthy. However, it might be good to call a health care provider to double check. If the pain becomes severe, you have trouble breathing, or have a history of serious heart disease, it would be prudent to call 911.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    chest pain, rib pain
    Symptoms that always occur with normal occurence of chest pain:
    chest pain
    Symptoms that never occur with normal occurence of chest pain:
    being severely ill, shortness of breath, fainting, severe chest pain, crushing chest pain, excessive sweating, nausea or vomiting, fast heart rate in adults, slow heart rate
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit

    Back Numbness Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having back numbness.

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  6. 6.Traumatic Vertebral Fracture

    Vertebral fracture is a fracture or dislocation of a vertebra that can cause bone fragments to pinch and damage the spinal nerves or spinal cord. Most spinal fractures occur from car accidents, falls, gunshot, or sports.

    Call 911 immediately.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    back pain, constant back pain, severe back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain affecting the spine
    Symptoms that always occur with traumatic vertebral fracture:
    back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with traumatic vertebral fracture:
    mild back pain
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  7. 7.Hashimoto's Disease

    The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ inside the neck that is responsible for making thyroid hormones. These hormones control important body functions, such as heart rate and the rate at which the body turns food into energy. Hashimoto's disease is a condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid, and not enough thyroid hormone is produced, leading to symptoms like fatigue and weight gain.

    You should visit your primary care physician. Hashimoto's disease is a complex condition that is usually treated by hormone replacement therapy to bring hormone levels back up to normal.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, constipation, diarrhea
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Pinched Nerve in the Neck

    With age, disks separating the cervical vertebrae (which are the bones of your spine in your neck) lose height as well as lose water content, becoming stiffer. The vertebrae move closer together, and nerves that exit between these bones may be pinched, causing pain to travel down the nerve as it passes through the arm. The pain is usually sharp, and some people report a "pins and needles" sensation or even complete numbness.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will coordinate your care with a muscle and bone specialist (orthopedic surgeon). Cervical radiculopathy is treated with pain medication, soft neck collars, and physical therapy.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, pain that radiates down arm, pain in the back of the neck, severe shoulder pain
    Symptoms that always occur with pinched nerve in the neck:
    pain that radiates down arm
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

    Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease in which the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied). This happens sometimes as a result of long-term elevated blood pressure, and sometimes without any particular reason. The thickened heart muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood.

    You should visit your primary care physician. Cardiomyopathy is usually treated with prescription medication to slow down the heart rate and make the heart squeeze less forcefully. In severe cases of cardiomyopathy, an operation called myectomy is performed to remove a segment of thickened muscle from the wall dividing the right and left ventricle (the septum).

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, racing heart beat, shortness of breath on exertion
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Myofascial Pain Syndrome

    Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic musculoskeletal syndrome caused by trigger points within muscle. Pressure on these points causes pain in the area around the point as well as in other body parts, a phenomenon known as referred pain.

    You should visit your primary care physician. This complex chronic condition is often treated with injections and physical therapy.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, spontaneous shoulder pain, pain in the back of the neck, shoulder blade pain, difficulty moving the shoulder
    Symptoms that always occur with myofascial pain syndrome:
    tender muscle knot
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Back Numbness

  • Q.Is your back numbness constant or come-and-go?
  • Q.How long has your back been numb?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our back numbness symptom checker.

Take a quiz

Back Numbness Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced back numbness have also experienced:

    • 5% Fatigue
    • 4% Lower Back Pain
    • 3% Rib Pain on One Side
  • People who have experienced back numbness had symptoms persist for:

    • 37% Over a Month
    • 30% Less Than a Day
    • 14% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced back numbness were most often matched with:

    • 4% Acute Costochondritis (Chest Wall Syndrome)
    • 4% Fibromyalgia
    • 3% Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Back Numbness Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having back numbness.

Take a quiz