Fever and Back Pain
It is one thing to wake up with back pain, but another when the pain is combined with a fever, body aches, and chills. It could be the flu or another infection. However, after checking the body’s temperature and fever is present with no other symptoms than back pain unless it is the flu; the fever could be another issue that may or may not be related as there are a variety of causes for back pain like:
- Inflamed muscles
- Muscle or ligament strain – If in poor physical condition, repeated and constant tension on the back can cause muscle spasms. Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain the back muscles and spinal ligaments.
- Bulging or ruptured discs – Discs act as cushions between the bones/vertebrae in the spine. The soft material inside a disc can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve. However, a bulging or ruptured disc can present without back pain. Disc disease is often found by accident when spine X-rays are performed for another reason.
- Arthritis – Osteoarthritis can affect the lower back. In some cases, arthritis in the spine can narrow the space around the spinal cord, a condition called spinal stenosis.
- Osteoporosis – The spine’s vertebrae can develop painful fractures if the bones become porous and brittle.
Back pain without a fever is usually an indication of a misaligned spine.
Table of Contents
Fever A Sign of Something Else
A fever is the body’s way of trying to raise its core temperature in an attempt to kill off a virus or a bacterial infection. Possible causes of back pain with fever include:
- This type of infection often presents with low back pain and fever.
Spinal Epidural Abscess
- This is an infection of the lower region of the spine, causing fever and lower back pain.
- This is an infection of the lower spine that causes pain in the arms, lower back, and legs, along with a fever.
- This causes swelling and inflammation of the brain and spine and needs to be addressed immediately.
Spinal Cord Abscess
- This is an infection of the internal part of the spine. It is rare but can happen, causing low back pain and fever.
This is when seeing a chiropractor can help. A few signs that should not be ignored include:
- Recently involved in an automobile accident.
- Suffered a serious fall.
- Feeling a tingling in the legs.
- Having balance issues.
- Having abdominal pain.
- Pain is not going away, or it goes away for a while, then comes back.
- Have weakness in the arms or legs.
- Having bowel or urinary problems that were not present previously.
- The pain is worse when sitting or standing up after sitting.
- Have upper back pain after alcohol consumption.
A chiropractor will take a complete medical history, X-rays, an MRI if necessary, and a thorough physical examination will be performed to determine the cause. After a diagnosis is reached, the chiropractor will perform adjustments to relieve the pain and open the nerve pathways to increase circulation to the area. A chiropractic massage will help reduce stress, relieve back pain, and reduce depression, which can also help reduce the fever unless it is from another issue.
Influenza or the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and, in extreme cases, can lead to death. Like a common cold, the flu is spread primarily through tiny droplets that get expelled from an infected person when they sneeze, cough, or talk. Approximately 8% of the population gets the flu each season. Flu symptoms are sudden, causing the following:
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Vomiting and diarrhea which is more common in children.
Most individuals with healthy immune systems will recover around seven days. However, the elderly, pregnant women, individuals of any age with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, and children under the age of five have an increased risk of developing complications. Flu vaccination is currently recommended for anyone older than six months in the U.S. and effectively prevents infection in 50 – 80% of the population. The primary treatment method for the flu is to support the immune system with plenty of rest, proper nutrition, and hydration.
Ameer MA, Knorr TL, Mesfin FB. Spinal Epidural Abscess. [Updated 2021 Feb 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441890/
Kehrer, Michala et al. “Increased short- and long-term mortality among patients with infectious spondylodiscitis compared with a reference population.” The spine journal: official journal of the North American Spine Society vol. 15,6 (2015): 1233-40. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2015.02.021
Rubin, Devon I. “Epidemiology and risk factors for spine pain.” Neurologic clinics vol. 25,2 (2007): 353-71. doi:10.1016/j.ncl.2007.01.004
Tsantes, Andreas G et al. “Spinal Infections: An Update.” Microorganisms vol. 8,4 476. 27 Mar. 2020, doi:10.3390/microorganisms8040476
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