How to Differentiate Internal and Muscular Back Pain

If you or a loved one is experiencing back pain, it is important to understand the source of the discomfort. There are two main types of pain: somatic and visceral. Somatic pain originates from the skin, muscles, and soft tissue, while visceral pain is caused by internal organs. To accurately diagnose the source of your back pain, it is important to consult with a medical professional.

Somatic pain is often easier to localize than visceral pain, as many nerves supply muscles, bones, and other soft tissue. Low back pain should be evaluated by a doctor to determine if an internal organ is causing it or what exactly is the source of the pain. Common sources of visceral pain include functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID), such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects up to 15 percent of the population and is more common in women. Menstrual cramps are another extremely common form of visceral pain.

Kidney stones can also cause acute pain in the side and lower back when urine contains a large amount of chemicals (more than urine can dilute). Pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas, can cause severe and disabling pain that starts in the upper abdomen and radiates to the lower back. If back pain may be associated with a specific activity, such as lifting or spraining, and the pain goes away 72 hours after resting and applying ice, there's usually nothing to worry about. However, if the discomfort persists or worsens, it is important to seek medical attention.

A muscle strain or muscle strain is a common cause of back pain and occurs when the tendon or ligaments are injured by overusing or misusing the back muscles. At The Spine Center at UT Southwestern, our multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and providers offers cutting-edge treatments for back pain and spinal related injuries. Whether back pain requires surgery or is manageable with conservative treatment, it's important to see a spinal specialist for a diagnosis and care. Rehabilitation specialists can also provide tips on how to prevent and treat back pain.By accurately reporting what the pain feels like, you can help your healthcare provider diagnose your problem and prescribe the best treatment regimen.

Opioids are usually reserved for severe pain and are given for a short time to avoid dependency problems.If you or a loved one could benefit from a back pain consultation, call 214-645-8300 or request an appointment online.

Marcie Macvicar
Marcie Macvicar

Extreme web nerd. Total food aficionado. Typical coffee evangelist. Alcohol enthusiast. Passionate coffee evangelist.

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