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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: Unidentified Low Back Pain

 thought100 - Thu Dec 01, 2005 6:59 pm

I am a 26 year old female with good health. I've also not had any injuries or traumas. I have had low back pain now for about 5 months chronically. When I sleep, it gets very bad, and usually wakes me up at about three or four hours into the night and keeps me up for the rest of the night. The pain occurs on the sides of my lower back, probably just below my ribs. At night, when I take deep breaths, the pain becomes worse. During the day, the back pain is just a dull ache all day long, but I also have moderate leg pain in both legs. Advil helps to numb the back pain during the day, but nothing helps the shooting pain in my legs. I've had x-rays and an MRI, but both show absolutely nothing is wrong. I've been to chiropractic therapies and an orthopedic surgeon. Neither have been direct in identifying what is wrong. I have no additional symptoms (all other bodily functions seem to be working just fine). Have any doctors out there seen any similar cases or have an opinion on what might be causing this pain? I would really like to be able to sleep again at night, and I would really appreciate any help or additional insight into this problem.

Thank you.
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Tue Aug 08, 2006 5:57 pm

User avatar Dear thought100,

It sounds like muscle spasm is the cause of your symptoms.

The back has a group of muscles that enable us to stand erect.

Spasms in this muscle group results from many conditions.
These muscles are attached to the ribs, being in spasm make the breathing difficult or painful.

Muscle spasm alone can cause this pain which can be an unidentified cause but in many cases is the result of inappropriate posture for long time like traveling, driving and certain types of work.
In these cases, self care and avoiding the precipitating cause will lead to a gradual but clear improvement in the pain.

If the condition is not treated properly, they can cause more disk compression, even herniated (ruptured) disc).

Other causes to be investigated include:

- Juvenile ankylosing spondylitis is another possibility and should be excluded, in this condition there is also pain on deep breath if the joints between the ribs and the spine. ESR is elevated in such cases.

- Inflammation of the sacroiliac joint which gives similar picture and MRI negative results.

Follow up with your doctor is essential.
Hope you find this information useful.
Best regards,

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