Rainey Chiropractic Back Pain Causes

The 4 Most Deadly Causes of Low Back Pain

Serious Back Pain Causes

If you haven’t had it yet, you probably will. BACK PAIN. It’s that one thing that happens to nearly all of us at one point in our lives. And you don’t forget how bad it really is until you have an episode.  And once you do, you will do about anything to get rid of it.

This article will discuss the most serious causes of low back pain. After all, if you have low back pain, you want to make sure it is nothing serious. There may be many causes of low back pain, but below you will find a list of the top 15 most serious causes of low back pain.

In this article, I will list and explain the most common causes of back pain, and I will also discuss effective treatment options. If you are in Clearwater Florida or Dunedin Florida, your chances of back pain may be higher. By looking at the demographics and population composition of the Dunedin, Clearwater, Largo, Palm Harbor area,  there is a greater than average likelihood of a person in this geographic region to have low back pain.

Back Pain Affects Us All

In 2009, there was an article written by the University of North Carolina school of medicine. The study determined that over 80% of the US population will experience back pain that will need to be treated by a physician at some point in their lives. Even more incredible is that the total annual cost of low back pain. Total costs of the condition are estimated at greater than $100 billion annually. It’s important to note that many people will ignore the pain until it becomes a constant, chronic pain that becomes expensive to treat.  

When looking at treatment options, it’s up to you to make the right decision. The most invasive option would be surgery, but some of the less invasive treatment options include chiropractic care. Chiropractic care is one of the most effective, noninvasive treatment options for low back pain. In addition, it has been shown to be one of the least expensive options. This leads to reducing healthcare costs and excellent low back pain relief.

Below, you will find a list of the most deadly causes of low back pain. As a physician, I always want to rule out the worst case scenario first.      

Causes of Serious Back Pain

(1) Vertebral osteomyelitis


This is a rare bone infection that concentrates in the vertebrae.


This condition that occurs when bacteria infect the bones of the spine. This infection usually starts somewhere else in the body and then it spreads to the vertebrae. When this spreads to the low back it can create intense low back pain. With this kind of infection, you will get inflammation of the bone and the bone marrow. But typical symptoms would include some sort of fever and associated back pain. Although this condition is rare, it does cause back pain, and it is very important to identify and rule out.  Your doctor may order an x-ray to identify if there is an infection of your bones.


This condition is very rare and is not generally seen in healthy, young adults. The people most likely to contract vertebral osteomyelitis are elderly patient, intravenous drug users and people with compromised immune systems.


This x-ray will show any changes or alterations to the bone, including loss of intervertebral disc height. A Computed Tomography scan (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging ( MRI) to further evaluate the soft tissue around the infection. This would include your spinal nerves and other associated tissue adjacent to the vertebrae.

(2) Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)


This is an enlarged area of the lower part of the aorta. This is a dangerous condition because it can cause a person to quickly bleed to death if it ruptures. This is a big one because this is life-threatening. An aneurysm is a localized widening of a blood vessel. When you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm, we are specifically dealing with the aorta, the largest artery in your body.  Think of it as the lifeline for blood supply to your lower body.


  1. High Blood Pressure
  2. Inflammation of the vascular system (vasculitis)
  3. High blood pressure (hypertension).

When that aorta ruptures, Now think of a big bulge on your car tire. When you look and you notice that there is a bulge sticking out, that’s kind of like an aneurysm. It’s like looking at a weak spot on the tire. In this case, we’re looking at the aorta which is the largest artery in the body. The aorta is a tube about a foot long, and it is about an inch in diameter. When you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm, you often will not have symptoms. If you do, it is just a deep, dull pain in the lower back. You may have some abdominal pulsations as well.


The people most likely to get AAA are generally male, over the age of 60, have high blood pressure, are obese, have high cholesterol, smoke tobacco and lead a sedentary lifestyle.  If you fit these categories, and you have low back pain, it is advisable to see a physician immediately. This is especially true if you experience trauma to your abdomen


The way rule this out AAA is with an x-ray. It’s easy to see on an x-ray. And AAA becomes official when the aorta has dilated to greater than 3 cm. In my training, I have been told that is considered a medical emergency when it becomes greater than 4 mm.


Once larger than 4cm, AAA must be addressed with surgery.

(3) Metastatic cancer


It is a form of cancer that spreads from a local area of the body and can spread to other areas.


According to the National Cancer Association, In metastasis, cancer cells break away from where they first formed (primary cancer), travel through the blood or lymph system, and form new tumors (metastatic tumors) in other parts of the body.


Metastatic cancer can occur to anyone, particularly when conditions are favorable for cancer cell growth.  We won’t cover cancer in this article, but we may discuss that on Dr. Ian Rainey’s other website where we discuss natural health, weight loss, and disease prevention.


Diagnosis of metastatic cancer comes from lab testing and a biopsy which can be done for many parts of the body, including lymph nodes, lungs, liver, bone, skin, or body fluids.


According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, typically, metastatic cancer requires systemic therapy, or medications given by mouth or injected into the bloodstream to reach cancer cells throughout the body, such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy. Other treatments may include biological therapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or a combination of these.

(4) Ankylosing spondylitis


It is a form of arthritis that generally affects the spine. It is also called degenerative disc disease. This is a more common cause of low back pain, but it is less deadly than the previous conditions covered.


Generally, degenerative disc disease is caused by age-related wear and tear on the spinal disc. This leads to low back pain for a number of different reasons. When pressure is placed on the low back due to a degenerating disc, this increases the likelihood of pressure being applied to the spinal nerves. This pressure to the spinal nerves can cause tightening of the muscles around the spinal column, numbness and tingling, nerve pain and even more severe conditions. The majority of the time, degenerative disc disease just causes general unresolved low back pain.


The prevalence of degenerative disc disease is found in 40% of people over the age of 40. 80% of people who are 80 years or older have degenerative disc disease this is according to the Ontario Health Technological Assessment Service.


Degenerative disc disease is diagnosed with x-ray imaging.


Degenerative disc disease is often treated with a combination of not invasive techniques. This includes Chiropractic, physical therapy, over-the-counter pain medications heat and ice, massage, epidural steroid injections “ESI‘s). Chiropractic care will realign the vertebrae with the goal of reducing tension on the joints and relieving pressure from the spinal nerves. Massage therapy will help to reduce the muscle tension in the spasms in the low back. Physical therapy will help maintain healthy mobility in the spine for the use of stretching exercises, strengthening exercises and possibly low impact aerobic activities. He will loosen up the muscles, and ice will reduce swelling. The alternation of heat and ice can be very effective for degenerative disc disease. Lastly, injections are excellent for reducing inflammation. This will alleviate pain for several weeks and even up to an entire year.

If you are experiencing low back that has not gone away, please see a medical professional immediately.  A chiropractor is a great first line of defense because chiropractors are specifically trained to identify and treat low back pain conditions.

Schedule here for a free consultation today. We will identify the cause of your low back pain and provide appropriate treatment recommendations.


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