Read below about back pain affecting the spine, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your back pain affecting the spine 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.

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Back Pain Affecting the Spine

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced back pain affecting the spine. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Herniated (Slipped) Disk in the Lower Back

    The backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between the bones are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. Although people talk about a slipped disk, nothing actually slips out of place. The outer shell of the disk ruptures, and the jelly-like substance bulges out. It may be pressing on a nerve, which is what causes the pain.A slipped disk is more likely to happen due to strain on the back, such as during heavy lifting, and older individuals are at higher risk.

    The pain associated with a slipped disk usually goes away within six weeks. If the pain lasts longer, consult a doctor. They may send you to see a back specialist for an MRI of your spine, and surgery may be considered.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, moderate back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain that gets worse when sitting, leg weakness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Fibromyalgia

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

    Fibromyalgia is generally a lifelong condition

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, arthralgias or myalgias, anxiety, depressed mood, headache
    Symptoms that always occur with fibromyalgia:
    arthralgias or myalgias
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Upper Back Bruise

    A bruise is the damage of the blood vessels that return blood to the heart (the capillaries and veins), which causes pooling of the blood. This explains the blue/purple color of most bruises. Bruises of the back are common, given how exposed this area of the body is.

    Bruises begin to heal within one week.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    back pain, constant back pain, upper back pain from an injury, swollen back, bruised back
    Symptoms that always occur with upper back bruise:
    upper back pain from an injury, constant back pain
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Low Back Strain

    A strain, commonly called a "pulled muscle," is when a muscle becomes overstretched and tears. A low back strain happens when one of the muscles in the lower back is stressed due to an unusual movement (such as lifting a heavy object, or lifting while twisting).

    This is usually a self-limiting problem, and should subside on its own within weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, back pain that gets worse when sitting, back pain that gets worse when straightening it, lower left back pain, lower right back pain
    Symptoms that always occur with low back strain:
    lower back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with low back strain:
    involuntary defecation, first time leaking urine, back numbness, toe numbness, foot numbness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

    Back Pain Affecting the Spine Checker

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  5. 5.Spinal Stenosis

    The spine, or backbone, protects the spinal cord and allows people to stand and bend. Spinal stenosis causes narrowing in the spine. The narrowing puts pressure on nerves and the spinal cord and can cause pain.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain that shoots to the butt, difficulty walking, thigh pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  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.

    Variable depending on severity (months)

    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.Spondylolysis

    Spondylolysis is a defect in the connection between vertebrae, or the bones of the spine. Over time, small stress fractures can weaken the bones enough to cause separation of the joints. The most common symptom of this condition is low back pain, which may feel like a muscle strain.

    In most cases rest and early treatment is successful in relieving pain and swelling within weeks to a few months.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, back pain from overuse, back pain that gets worse when straightening it, lower back pain from an injury
    Symptoms that always occur with spondylolysis:
    lower back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with spondylolysis:
    back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain that shoots to the butt
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Vertebral Osteomyelitis

    Infection of the spinal bones (Vertebral Osteomyelitis) is caused by the spread of bacteria through the blood from another body part that lands in the spine. It's typically caused by bugs named Staph. Aureus (40-50% of the time), streptococci (12%), e.coli (9%), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (6%).

    6 weeks of antibiotics typically clears things up

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    upper back pain, spontaneous neck or back pain, fever, foot numbness, upper leg numbness
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  9. 9.Osteoporotic Spinal Fracture

    Osteoporosis is a condition in which the density and quality of bone are reduced. Cracks can appear in the boney structures of the back (vertebrae) which can lead to back pain, back deformities and loss of height.

    Weeks to months

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    mid back pain, spontaneous mid back pain, unintentional weight loss, back pain affecting the spine, back deformity
    Urgency:
    In-person visit

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Back Pain Affecting the Spine

  • Q.What is your body mass?
  • Q.Does your back pain radiate anywhere?
  • Q.Have you ever injected drugs?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our back pain affecting the spine symptom checker to find out more.

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Back Pain Affecting the Spine Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced back pain affecting the spine have also experienced:

    • 8% Lower Back Pain
    • 3% Hip Pain
    • 2% Fatigue
  • People who have experienced back pain affecting the spine had symptoms persist for:

    • 29% Less Than a Week
    • 29% Over a Month
    • 22% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced back pain affecting the spine were most often matched with:

    • 42% Herniated (Slipped) Disk in the Lower Back
    • 42% Fibromyalgia
    • 14% Upper Back Bruise
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

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