12/11/2013 05:24 GMT | Updated 12/11/2013 05:24 GMT

Your Back Pain May Be More Than Just An Ache - It Could Indicate Cancer, Bladder Infections And Kidney Problems

Back pain is the biggest cause of people taking time off work, and is the second most common ailment GPs have to attend to.

Yet while for some, back pain is nothing more than a problem with the spine or the muscles in the back, for others, it may hint at a bigger problem.

An article in the MailOnline suggested that people should pay closer to attention to the aches and pains in their back. They interviewed Michelle Law, who had struggled with back pain for most of her childhood, and had undergone many scans, which had revealed nothing.

back pain

Eventually she was referred to a specialist, to find that she had actually been suffering from interstitial cystitis which had caused the pain. The cystitis, which attacks the lining of the bladder, had left it so badly damaged that she needed a new bladder made from bowel tissue.

Dr Zaki Almallah, consultant urologist at the Birmingham Bladder Clinic and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham explained why back pain can be mistaken for other ailments.

"Sometimes the organs can send pain signals to other parts of the body - notably the back - by a process called 'referred pain'."

Dr Sharon Orrange, writing on Dailystrength.org revealed that lower back in particular can mask kidney and cancer issues.

Talking about kidney stones, she says: "This could be the cause of your back pain if your pain is a 10/10 on the pain scale, constant, crampy, aching and so severe it's making you nauseous and you can't sit still."

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What she does advise however, to stop people from panicking if they do in fact actually on have back pain issues, is to look for other sensations besides the back ache. If there is a persistent numbness and tingling, then you should get it checked out.

HealthCentral also point out that gallbladder pain can often be masked by back pain, if it has developed an infection or a stone.

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"Referred gallbladder pain can be especially tricky because it is felt in the mid-back, right shoulder, and between the shoulder blades. Because these symptoms are especially common in women, all women with pain in these areas should have the gallbladder evaluated and should also consider some dietary restrictions to prevent gallbladder attacks."

Most back pain, says the NHS, should resolve itself within 12 weeks. If it has not, make an appointment to see your GP and ask for further tests.