Read below about severe back pain, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your severe back pain 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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5 Potential Severe Back Pain Causes

  1. 1.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
  2. 2.Osteoid Osteoma

    An osteoid osteoma is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor that usually develops in the long bones of the legs. The thigh bone (femur) is affected most commonly, although the bones of the hand or the spine can have occasional involvement. This condition is most often found in young people.

    Good prognosis, 90% chance that the condition will not come back. A short recovery time after surgery is expected.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, upper back pain, spontaneous back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, severe back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with osteoid osteoma:
    hip pain, bilateral leg swelling, weakness in both arms, weakness of both legs
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  3. 3.Lower Back (Sacral Vertebral) Fracture

    A sacral stress fracture is a small break in the sacrum. The sacrum is a large triangular bone at base of the spine. The sacrum connects to the pelvis.

    Variable depending on severity

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, back pain that shoots down the leg, severe back pain, lower back pain from an injury
    Symptoms that always occur with lower back (sacral vertebral) fracture:
    lower back pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Cervical Vertebral Fracture

    The seven bones in the neck are the cervical vertebrae. They support the head and connect it to the shoulders and body. A fracture, or break, in one of the cervical vertebrae is commonly called a broken neck.

    AAOS

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in the back of the neck, neck pain from an injury, severe neck pain, arm weakness, leg weakness
    Symptoms that always occur with cervical vertebral fracture:
    neck pain from an injury, pain in the back of the neck
    Symptoms that never occur with cervical vertebral fracture:
    spontaneous neck pain
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  5. 5.Normal Occurrence of Back Pain

    Many people experience back pain sometimes, without something specifically being wrong. It seems that you have little to none symptoms that point towards something serious.

    1-2 weeks

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    back pain, mild back pain, spontaneous mid back pain, moderate back pain, back pain all over
    Symptoms that always occur with normal occurrence of back pain:
    back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with normal occurrence of back pain:
    lower back pain from an injury, severe back pain, mid back pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Severe Back Pain

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.What is your body mass?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?
  • Q.How would you describe the cause of your lower back pain?

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

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Severe Back Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced severe back pain have also experienced:

    • 3% Back Pain
    • 2% Lower Back Pain
    • 2% Headache
  • People who have experienced severe back pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 29% Less Than a Week
    • 28% Over a Month
    • 23% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced severe back pain were most often matched with:

    • 5% Traumatic Vertebral Fracture
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

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