ZocdocAnswersI am experiencing lower back pain that is causing numbness. What does it mean?

Question

I am experiencing lower back pain that is causing numbness. What does it mean?

I got into an accident in 8th grade and landed on my back. Could this be the cause? I am having numbness in lower/upper back, legs, and arms!

Answer

Lower back pain and numbness can often be related, though sometimes they are separate etiologies. In order to thoroughly evaluate your symptoms to determine the cause and establish treatment if necessary, I recommend that you see your doctor or a healthcare provider for consultation and testing. Low back pain is one of the most common complaints in doctors offices. The source of pain has multiple causes. Often times back pain is secondary to a recent injury, that may or may not have been noticed by the patient, resulting in strain to the back muscles and local pain/soreness. However, back pain may also be due to an abnormality of the spine, including the vertebrae and connective tissues. One cause is a herniated disk, in which patients will often present with history of a specific injury when the pain started and present with unilateral pain, tingling or numbness that is made worse or better with different positioning. Another spinal issue is stenosis of the vertebrae, which can cause bilateral numbness and pain that is also positional in nature. History of old back injuries may or may not be related. Often times an old injury may have weakened the local tissues increasing the risk of later problems with vertebral joint pain. There is no way to no know the cause of your symptoms without evaluation by your doctor, who may prescribe imaging of the back such as CT or MRI to look for abnormalities. Again, please speak with your doctor or a healthcare provider.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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