When is back pain not back pain?

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Pretty much every person experiences back pain at some point in their life. It’s part and parcel of getting old and so when it comes on, we tend to either just ignore it and carry on with the rigors of everyday life or rest it – after all, most back pain is gone within six weeks and we are back to a happy, healthy life.

Except, back pain isn’t always that simple. Sometimes we can misread the problem as being an aching back when in fact it is something far more serious. If you’ve been suffering with consistent back pain or something just doesn’t feel right, then get it checked out by a doctor.

For starters, here are four serious health problems that are often mistaken for back pain.


Appendicitis is common, with some 300,000 people in the United States have their appendix removed each year. The traditional symptoms of appendicitis include nausea, vomiting and a sharp pain in the lower abdomen. However, around 15 percent of people have their appendix in their back near a kidney thanks to an anatomical quirk which nobody really understands. When those people suffer appendicitis, it can lead to lower back pain instead of the stomach pain you associate with the problem. If you suspect you have appendicitis, seek medical help quickly – an infected appendix can rupture within 24 hours and if infection sets in, it can lead to shock.

Aortic aneurysm

An aneurysm can happen anywhere in your body, but the one most likely to inflict back pain comes from an aortic aneurysm. The aorta is the largest vessel in the body at around a foot long, extending from the heart through the chest and into the abdomen. If an aortic aneurysm bursts, it will bring on severe pain in the back and abdomen. Although it tends to be most common in men over 60 who smoke or have high cholesterol levels, it can be life threatening so anybody who suffers sudden or severe back pain should contact a doctor immediately.

Kidney stones

Kidney stones are hard objects that are formed when chemicals in the urine become too concentrated and they begin with a sharp, stabbing sensation that develops in your side or lower back, making it easy to mistake initially for back pain. The pain will come in waves and slowly travel down to your genital area with some people describing the passing of a kidney stone as being worse than going into labor. Doctors can help with the process – Tamsulosin Kidney Stones will relax your bladder muscles allowing items to pass more freely – with kidney stones being responsible for well over 1 million visits to emergency rooms a year.


Osteoporosis is a silent disease because it is common to have it yet not know about it. When it does rear its ugly head however, the overriding symptom is back pain. Osteoporosis can often end up weakening the spine to the point where it fractures. Once a couple of those bones have done so, people begin to develop a curved spine and as a result, they begin to lose height. Any sort of back pain in your upper or middle back or even the sensation that you have somehow shrunk could be a sign that your back pain is actually osteoporosis. If it is, a visit to your doctor to diagnose the problem and get you on some medication that reduces the risk of bone breakage in the future will be required.

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