Infections that Can Cause Back Pain

Back pain does not always come about from problems with the spine or the muscles that support it. In fact, there are several causes for back pain that have nothing to do with your back. Millions of Americans suffer from back pain at any given moment and at times, the pain is a symptom of an infection for which antibiotics can alleviate symptoms.


Bladder & Kidney Infections

Bladder or urinary tract infections are caused by a bacterial infection within the bladder. Bacteria enter the urethra and travels into the bladder, causing a bladder infection. When this goes untreated, the problem can complicate into a condition called pyelonephritis, which affects the upper urinary system that includes the kidneys and ureters, or the ducts where the urine passes from the kidney to the bladder.

Bacteria from the untreated UTI sometimes escape the bladder and urethra and travel up the ureters where they enter one or both kidneys and cause a kidney infection. This infection can spread to the blood. The problem is treatable with antibiotics. Because the urethra is shorter in women than in men, women are at higher risk of obtaining a urinary tract infection.

Symptoms of UTI include painful and/ or frequent urination. Once the infection has progressed to pyelonephritis, symptoms include:

  • Back pain or flank pain
  • Fever
  • Feeling ill
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion in elderly patients

The urine can also contain blood, a foul odor, or appear cloudy. If you experience trouble urinating, you should seek medical care.


Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness caused by bacteria of the Borrelia variety. It is found all over the U.S. and Europe and the Centers for Disease Control estimate that the disease affects over 300,000 people each year. Lyme disease is transmitted to humans by Ixodes ticks, also known as deer ticks in the Eastern United States and black-legged ticks on the West Coast. Most of the time, the bite from the Ixode tick is unfelt as it is usually a nymph tick in one its early stages of development that carries the disease. At this size, the ticks are no bigger than a poppy seed. The disease sparks many symptoms that are common symptoms of other diseases. For this reason, the disease is commonly misdiagnosed and experts believe the number of people who suffer from Lyme disease to be much higher. The disease affects the heart, brain, nervous system, and other parts of the body throughout its progression.

Three to thirty days following the bite you may see the following signs of Lyme disease:

  • Erythema migrans (bulls-eye or oval-shaped red rash) rash where bite occurred
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Several days to several months after the tick bite you may experience:

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Episodes of dizziness
  • Nerve pain
  • Shooting pains
  • Short-term memory loss

As Lyme disease progresses you may also experience low back pain.



Meningitis is a life-threatening disease that is caused by inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be viral, bacterial, fungal or parasitic in nature and can be deadly, with death possible with a few hours of contracting bacterial meningitis. Viral meningitis is more common and does not constitute a medical emergency like bacterial meningitis. Permanent disabilities are also possible upon contracting bacterial meningitis, such as brain damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities.

Several types of bacteria can provoke meningitis, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitides, Haemophilus influenzae and Listeria monocytogenes. Common symptoms of meningitis include fever, headache, and neck stiffness. In more serious cases symptoms can include joint pain, muscle pains, and other body aches and pains like back pain.

It is always important to consult with a physician when experiencing unfamiliar symptoms. The doctors at Garden State Pain Control utilize several tests to determine the root cause of your pain. Seek treatment by booking an appointment today.