Back Problems
Symptom Checker: Neck, Upper, Mid And Lower Back Pains

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pictures of back pain in women

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Back And Neck Problems

Contents

Neck Pain
Shoulder Pains
Upper Back Aches
Middle Back Pain
Lower Back Pains

Related Articles

How The Female Body Works
Recommended Health Screenings For Women
Latest Health Statistics For Women


NECK

Statistics: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 17.5 percent of American women have suffered neck pain (and 13 percent of men) within the past 3 months.

neck pain pictures Sharp pain that spreads down the arms: Neck pain that can range from mild to severe; it can spread to the arms, elbows and occasionally fingers; you may feel numb in the affected area. You could have slipped a disc in your upper spine. Pain is worse at nighttime or after standing or sitting for some time. Treatment involves pain-relief medications, a short period of rest and physical therapy. If pain does not eventually go, surgery (diskectomy) may be necessary.
Tension pain Pain radiates from the shoulders to the head, or vice versa and is fully or partly relieved by over the counter painkillers and a hot bath. This type of pain is caused by stress. Take the holmes rahe stress test.
Whiplash Pain in the neck and shoulders, you may also have headaches and pins and needles sensation. Symptoms appear after an injury but are often not felt until days later. This is called whiplash. It occurs when the head snaps forward suddenly, usually in a car accident. Treatment may involve physical therapy, NSAID drugs and wearing a cervical collar for a short period of time.
Pain radiates to the arms Pain which extends to the shoulder blade, upper arms and forearms. It may get worse at nighttime, after standing or sitting, when you sneeze or cough or when you bend the neck backwards. Overtime the neck gradually stiffens and you get frequent headaches. These are all signs of cervical spondylosis, that is osteoarthritis of the neck.
Pain with general muscle pain Neck pain, with widespread muscle pain throughout the body. You may have frequent headaches, feel exhausted and have joints which feel swollen but look normal. See, fibromyalgia symptoms. Possibly also, effects of depression.
Pain after exertion Pain which may be acute (sharp and sudden) or dull and occurs after exertion, falling asleep in an awkward position or sitting too long at the computer. This is a sign of mechanical or muscular pain. This type of ache does not usually radiate to other parts of the body and it tends to pass within a few days. If it persists it indicates a more serious problem like a slipped lumbar disc, and needs to be investigated.
Wake up with stiff neck You wake up with a stiff neck and it is painful to move your head from side to side. This is known as a cricked neck. It usually disappears within 3 days, although you may need headache tablets to reduce the ache. Wearing a roll-neck jumper or scarf will help keep the area warm to speed up recovery. When sleeping support your neck by turning your pillow into a butterfly pillow. 'Chop' it in half with your hand and tie a ribbon around the center. Rest your head in the middle.
Stiff neck with rash You have a stiff neck and cannot touch your chest with your chin. You may also have a rash anywhere on the body, feel sleepy, have a severe headache, feel nauseous or vomit and become confused. Call a doctor immediately, you may have meningitis which can be deadly if not treated within hours.
SHOULDER PAIN
Fibro Fog Pain and loss of motion: Pain and tenderness in the shoulder, especially when you try to lift or pull an object, or when you lie on it. You experience weakness when you lift the arm out to the side and there is loss of range of motion if you try to circle it. Possible causes include calcific tendinitis (calcium deposits in the tendons of the shoulder joint) or subacromial bursitis (inflammation of the fluid filled sac that cushions the shoulder bones). After the age of 40, other possible causes include osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. See arthritis of the shoulder.
Pain in one spot Pain seems to come from one spot on the shoulder which if pressed is sore. You may feel a flu-like pain spreading throughout the body, chronic back pain, extreme tiredness and depression. See, fibromyalgia tender points. See also, can an accident or trauma cause fibromyalgia?
With painful periods Shoulder pain with painful periods. Periods may become irregular (heavier or less frequent) and there is pain during sexual intercourse and bloating. See, ovarian cysts.
Pain and stiffness Pain starts for an unknown reason and it prevents you from moving your arm in a full range of motion. The less you move your arm the stiffer it becomes. Gradually you are unable to reach above your head or behind you. This is known as frozen shoulder and is caused by inflammation of the joint capsule. Steroid injections may be recommended, although it should clear naturally within 2 years. You risk factors for frozen shoulder are higher if you have diabetes, hyperthyroidism or if you had a shoulder injury or open heart surgery.
Pain worsens with repetitive motion Pain which worsens with repetitive motion, mainly a motion that requires moving the arm over the head such as swimming or tennis. There may also be pain at rest. You probably have tendinitis (tennis shoulder or swimmers shoulder), which is an inflammation of the tendons (tissue that connects the bones and joints).
Sudden sharp pain Stabbing sharp pain which starts in the chest and radiates down the shoulder and arm. You may also have difficulties breathing and feel nauseous. You could be having a heart attack and the pain in the shoulder is 'referred' pain. See heart attack symptoms.
Right shoulder Pain which starts on the right side of the tummy and radiates around the back towards the right shoulder. You may also have yellowing eyes and skin and pale stools. These are signs of gallstones.
UPPER BACK

picture of upper back aches Central pain and loss of height: You are probably aged over 65 and have a dull ache in the center of your back (indicating a fragility fracture), and you are losing height. See osteoporosis symptoms.
MID BACK PAIN

picture of middle back pain Intense pain with fever: You feel an intense pain in the middle of your back or down your waist; you are feverish, possibly nauseous and vomiting. There is blood in the urine or the urine is strong smelling. You need to urinate frequently and it hurts when you do so. You may have a kidney disorder called pyelonephritis. It needs to be treated immediately to avoid kidney damage, but it responds well to antibiotics within a few days.
Pain in waves A severe colic pain which occurs in waves, usually in one side of the back and radiates to the front towards the groin. There may be blood in the urine, increased need to urinate and nausea or vomiting. You may have kidney stones. Small stones can flush out naturally by drinking lots of liquids, larger stones may need to be surgically removed. Seek medical advice.
LOWER BACK PAIN

Statistics: Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons for people taking time off work in the United States. 30 percent of all American women have experienced lower back pain in the past 3 months (and 26 percent of men).

lower back pain picture Before period: Lower back pain and stiffness in the days leading up to a period, feeling bloated, moody and tired. These are all signs of premenstrual syndrome. See, PMS as well as PMS treatment.
Pain when standing Pain can range from mild to severe; it often starts slowly and builds up. Pain is worse after standing or sitting for long periods, at night time, when sneezing or laughing or when bending forward. You may have sciatica. It occurs when there is damage to the sciatic nerve which starts in the lower spine and runs down the back of each leg. Common causes of damage included slipped discs and pelvic injuries. Sciatica often gets better on its own, although it may return.
Sharp pain spreads to buttocks Pain can range from mild to severe; it can spread to the legs, hip and buttocks. You may feel numbness in the affected area. You have slipped a disc in your lower back. Pain is often worse at night-time or after standing or sitting for a while. Treatment involves taking pain-relief medications, a short period of rest and physical therapy. If pain doesn't clear up, surgery (diskectomy) may be necessary.
Pain after exertion Pain which occurs after straining or pulling a muscle (for example after lifting a child) or due to bad posture is known as mechanical pain. Mechanical pain is very common, it does not usually radiate to other parts of the body and tends to pass within a few days. If pain persists it indicates a more serious problem like a slipped disc, and needs to be investigated.
Pain between the buttocks Pain which occurs at the tip of the tailbone (coccyx) just between the buttocks; aches more when you sit down; the area is tender to touch. It can be the result of an injury or can occur out of the blue. It usually heals naturally, although you need to avoid sitting for long periods of time. If pain persists it is treated with a local cortisone injection which often relieves or cures the problem.
Chronic pain relieved by walking Persistent lower back pain which has no obvious cause. Pain can range from nagging to severe and is worsened by sitting. Changing position, walking and even running can relieve symptoms for a while. You may have degenerative disk disease which can affect women as young as 20. It occurs when the discs in the lower part of the spine (lumbar discs) start to break down and the lower back becomes unstable. This condition is common but treatable.
In Pregnancy Most pregnant women will experience some back pain, particularly in the third trimester. For some however it may be severe enough to cause sleep problems. See, back pain in pregnancy.

Statistics: 33 percent of American women will have suffered joint pain in the past 3 months (29 percent of men). The most common joint pain occurs in the knee (20 percent of all women) followed by shoulder pain (9 percent), finger pain (9 percent) and hip pain (8.7 percent).

Other Useful Guides

Head And Face Disorders: From headaches to depression, skin and eye conditions.
Chest Conditions: Symptom checker for causes of chest pain in women.
Abdominal Problems: Stomach pains, cramps, changing bowel habits. Check your symptoms.
Female Reproductive Disorders: Symptoms of conditions of the vulva, vagina and bladder.
Bone And Joint Problems: Symptom checker for pain of the arms, legs, feet, hands and joints.
Leading Cause Of Death In Women: Statistics by age and race.
Skin Care Questions: Skin types, best treatments, plus lots more on skin problems.
Hospital Departments Explained: Guide to treatments and services by department.
Nervous System: Conditions and disorders of the nerves.
How to treat common illnesses: Back pain, aches, burns and other minor conditions.
Respiratory System: How and why we breathe, and what can go wrong.
Development of the female body: Menarche to menopause and old age.

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WOMENS HEALTH ADVICE: ABOUT BACK ACHES
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