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Can nocturnal back pain be a sign of something serious?

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Guidelines for discovering serious spinal health problems list a number of "red flags" that includes nocturnal back pain.  

Nocturnal back pain can be a symptom of spinal tumors. It could be a primary tumor, one that originates in the spine, or it could be a metastatic tumor, one that results from cancer that started elsewhere in the body and then spread to the spine.  

Nocturnal back pain is also a symptom of spinal bone infection (osteomyelitis) and ankylosing spondylitis, a condition that can cause the spine to fuse in a fixed, immobile position.

From: Nighttime Back Pain WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

StopPain.org: "How Frequently Does Low Back Pain Occur?"

Harding, I. , September 1, 2005; vol 30: pp 1985-1988. Spine

The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center, P.A.: "Things that Go Ouch in the Night."

MayoClinic: "Back Pain."

Kramarich, S. Summer 2005; pp 23 - 26 Northeast Florida Medicine,

Family Doctor.org: "Low Back Pain"

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskelatal and Skin Diseases: "Back Pain."

Diagnosis Pro: "Nocturnal Back Pain."

Albert Einstein Healthcare Network: "Frequently Asked Questions: Questions about lower back pain."

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on October 29, 2017

SOURCES:

StopPain.org: "How Frequently Does Low Back Pain Occur?"

Harding, I. , September 1, 2005; vol 30: pp 1985-1988. Spine

The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center, P.A.: "Things that Go Ouch in the Night."

MayoClinic: "Back Pain."

Kramarich, S. Summer 2005; pp 23 - 26 Northeast Florida Medicine,

Family Doctor.org: "Low Back Pain"

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskelatal and Skin Diseases: "Back Pain."

Diagnosis Pro: "Nocturnal Back Pain."

Albert Einstein Healthcare Network: "Frequently Asked Questions: Questions about lower back pain."

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on October 29, 2017

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When should I call the doctor about nocturnal back pain?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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