Lower back pain is a familiar sensation for most people; however, having persistent pain can reveal something about your health. It can even be a sign of cancer. However, before you worry too much, lower back pain is a very common issue that millions of people suffer from. There are a variety of reasons for it, just one of which is cancer.
In this blog, we will explore the possible ways lower back pain can be a sign of cancer. Talk to your doctor about your pain to find the cause of it.
Spinal tumors are rare, abnormal, and potentially cancerous masses that thrive in either the spinal column or spinal cord. Not all spinal tumors are cancerous, but their presence can still cause severe pain in the back. It can also cause numbness, paralysis, and faulty coordination of the arms and legs. Bladder and bowel dysfunctions are also common.
If you’ve been experiencing these, it is best to consult your physician about your lower back pain. Your doctor will assess your family history and conduct neurological exams and a biopsy. An imaging test like MRI or CT scan may also be recommended.
While other symptoms may come into play with developing breast cancer, sometimes, back pain is the only sign or indication present for diagnosis. Some symptoms that appear along with back pain include:
- Having swollen lymph nodes
- Changes or abnormalities in the nipples such as discharge or flaking
- Pain in the part of the breast and nipple
- Unusual swelling or dimpling of breast skin
Lung cancer can also cause issues like lower back pain. This is one of the many types of cancer that can spread towards the spine, affecting the lower back’s nerve functions.
If you are experiencing back pain with unusual conditions, such as those listed below, talk to a doctor:
- Back pain that occurs and worsens at night
- Back pain that is felt even while resting or with no physical activity
- Back pain persisting despite already tending to therapy or taking medication
These issues may be common with other types of spine conditions, as well. Lung-related symptoms must be examined further to note if your lower back pain is an early sign of lung cancer or something else entirely. These symptoms include:
- Presence of blood in phlegm
- Persistent coughing that gets worse over time
- Persistent respiratory infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia
- Unexplained feeling of tiredness or weakness
- Drastic loss of weight due to unknown reason
Cancer of the Skin and Tissue
Skin or tissue cancer such as melanoma may also cause lower back pain. When left undiagnosed and untreated, melanoma can spread and affect the area of the spine resulting in pain in the back. Symptoms that may go hand-in-hand with skin cancer are:
- Redness at the margin or border of the mole
- Mole changing its surface, becoming scaly, lumpy, or in some cases, bleeding
- An old sore that does not heal with interventions
Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancers
Cancers that may appear in the stomach, colon, or rectum of the gastrointestinal tract can also produce back pain as one of their symptoms. However, like other cancer types, lower back pain is not the only sign present in diagnosing gastrointestinal cancer. Some of the contributing symptoms are:
- A tinge or presence of blood in the stool
- Unexplained weakness and fatigue
- Having a loss of weight with no apparent reason
- Having heartburn and indigestion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor or having no appetite
- Abdominal pain and cramps
- Rectal bleeding
- Unusual change in the bowel (having diarrhea or constipation for more than a few days)
The American Cancer Society also suggests that advanced prostate cancer can spread into the spine, causing back pain. The prostate is a walnut-sized part of the reproductive system in males.
Treating Lower Back Pain in Austin, TX
While lower back pain can be an early sign of cancer, it is also important to note that many other reasons can explain it, as well. For example, an unattended injury from prolonged standing and lifting weights in the gym can strain the muscles in the back, causing pain.
If you are experiencing discomfort and persistent lower back pain, make sure to get early screening and diagnosis with a trusted physician. Resist from trying to find answers on medical websites. Despite having scientifically backed data and articles, it is still better to have a thorough consultation with your primary care physician.
The dedicated team of healthcare professionals at Endeavor Physical Therapy in Austin, TX can help you identify the root cause of your lower back pain. You may call us at (512) 467-4546 or book an appointment using our online form.