Back pain can be a pain in the butt, literally. It also creates pain throughout the upper back and shoulders. Radiating back pain is especially troublesome as it “radiates” throughout the back and causes great discomfort. Understanding the nature of radiating back pain, however, can help you to better treat and prevent it.
What is Radiating Back Pain?
Often when the human body experiences pain, that pain stays in one part of the body. However, there are times when that pain can radiate throughout parts of the body. This means that the pain moves from one part of the body to others.
Radiating back pain can occur in the upper or lower back. When it occurs in the lower back, it often radiates down into the groin. Similarly, radiating back pain can reach all the way up into the shoulders.
Are There Different Kinds of Radiating Pain?
There are five categories of risk for radiating pain:
- Low risk which can be treated using over-the-counter pain medications, stretching exercises, and even meditation
- Low-medium risk which sometimes requires stronger, prescription pain medication and more intensive exercises
- Medium risk which might require hospitalization in addition to prescription medication
- Medium-high risk which requires immediate medical attention to avoid a life-threatening situation
- High risk which is life-threatening and may require a short- or long-term stay within an Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
Lower Back Pain Radiating to Groin
The lower back begins at the bottom of the rib cage and stretches down to the tail bone, right above the buttocks. Sometimes pain can radiate throughout this region. There are a number of reasons for lower back pain radiating to the groin including:
- Muscle strain and tears
- Compression of various nerves caused by sitting for extended periods of time
- Pinched nerves
- Herniated disks
- Lesions on the nerves
- Sports injuries
- Compression fractures
- Other medical conditions
Upper Back Pain Radiating to Shoulder
Radiating back pain can also occur in the upper back. The upper back includes the area above the rib cage to the bottom of the neck. This includes the shoulders. Arthritis, lesions, injuries, herniated disks, pinched nerves, and many other conditions which lead to radiation lower back pain can also lead to upper back pain radiating to the shoulder.