Lower Back Pain

Back pain is a common problem often caused by overusing or misusing the muscles of the back. Some causes and treatment of back pain are described in this chart.

Our trusted Symptom Checker is written and reviewed by physicians and patient education professionals. Find a possible diagnosis by choosing a symptom and answering a few simple questions.

Remember, be sure to consult with you doctor if you feel you have a serious medical problem.

Step 2

Answering Questions

  • Did your pain begin after a fall or injury or when you lifted an object?

  • Do you have numbness or pain extending down your leg?

  • Are you over 60 years of age or do you have arthritis, and are you having severe pain with any movement?

  • Do you have pain when twisting, bending or even sitting?

  • Do you have pain that comes and goes that may have started in your teen years?

  • Do you have a fever?

  • Do you have blood in your urine and one-sided back pain along with burning during urination?

  • Is your back stiff and sore in the morning and are other joints stiff, sore, swollen or red?

  • Are you pregnant?

  • Is the pain centered in the lower spine and do you have pain down your leg?

Step 3

Possible Causes

  • Diagnosis

    You may have a HERNIATED DISK.


    Self Care

    See your doctor. Get plenty of rest and use an anti-inflammatory medicine to relieve pain. If your pain is severe, if you have lost feeling or movement, or if you have lost control of your bladder or bowels, see your doctor or go to the emergency room right away.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have a FRACTURED SPINE.


    Self Care

    EMERGENCY
    Call an ambulance right away. Do not try to drive to the emergency room, and try to move as little as possible.


  • Diagnosis

    Your pain may be from MUSCLE SPASM, a PULLED MUSCLE or a HERNIATED DISK.


    Self Care

    Apply heat, use an anti-inflammatory medicine and get rest. If you don’t get better or if your symptoms get worse, see your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have SPONDYLOLISTHESIS, when one vertebra in the spine slips over another, or SPONDYLOSIS, a type of arthritis.


    Self Care

    See your doctor. Use anti-inflammatory medicines to relieve pain.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have a kidney infection such as PYELONEPHRITIS. You may also have KIDNEY STONES, which can start a kidney infection and may cause pain, blood and painful urination without a fever.


    Self Care

    URGENT
    See your doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have a viral illness such as the FLU.


    Self Care

    Use analgesics such as acetaminophen to reduce fever and use over-the-counter cold medicines to treat other symptoms. See your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve or if they get worse.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS, a form of arthritis that affects the spine. Other forms of ARTHRITIS can also cause back pain.


    Self Care

    Use an anti-inflammatory medicine and apply heat to the affected area. If you do not improve, or if your pain is severe or gets worse, see your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    PREGNANCY causes stretching of the ligaments around the uterus and pressure on the lower back.


    Self Care

    Apply mild heat to the back only. See your doctor if the pain continues or if fever or bleeding accompanies the pain.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have a HERNIATED DISK or SPINAL STENOSIS.


    Self Care

    See your doctor. Get plenty of rest and use an anti-inflammatory medicine to relieve pain. If your pain is severe, if you have lost feeling or movement, or if you have lost control of your bladder or bowels, see your doctor or go to the emergency room right away.


  • Self Care

    For more information, please talk to your doctor. If you think the problem is serious, call your doctor right away.