When a person has a problem with their back, they often assume that they have a slipped disc or have simply pulled or strained their muscles. While these are very common problems that cause back pain, there are also some very common back problems that often go undiagnosed and untreated.

While it's up to a doctor to determine the actual cause of back pain, it helps if patients have a basic understanding of what could be causing their pain. This can help them to communicate with doctors and better understand their condition so they ensure they get proper treatment.

Spinal Stenosis

This condition occurs when the spinal nerve roots in the lower back become compressed or choked. In turn a person can experience pain and weakness in the hips and legs. They may assume that the problem is sciatica or a problem with the hips themselves, but the pain of spinal stenosis actually starts in the lower part of the back.

When ignored, this condition can cause circulatory problems and even paralysis of the lower body. It is also very painful so that a person can have difficulty walking or standing. For a professional diagnosis, talk to professionals at places like Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates.


Osteomyelitis is a technical term for a spinal infection. It's somewhat rare to get a spinal infection when you're healthy, but the condition is more common in elderly patients, intravenous drug users, and those who have compromised immune systems. These may include cancer patients, organ transplant patients, and those with severe cases of diabetes. Infections in the body can travel to various weak points and if an infection should settle in the spine, this can cause severe back pain. The infection can also continue to travel if left untreated.

Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome refers to spasms in the muscles that control the buttocks and which in turn can cause severe pain. This pain can travel down the leg muscles and cause weakness, numbness and tingling. This can also travel up from the buttocks to the lower back. This pain can also cause numbness and weakness in the feet and can be so severe that a patient may struggle to walk.

The piriformis muscle is connected to the spine to allow for maximum movement along the lower back which is why this syndrome is often mistaken for a problem with the back itself. It also helps to control movement around the hips and may be mistaken for sciatica.

Note that if you have any of these conditions you want to work with your doctor to ensure you're getting the best treatment possible and are keeping pressure off the muscles and nerves involved, so you can heal more quickly.