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Back pain is pain felt in the back. Episodes of back pain may be acute, sub-acute, or chronic depending on the duration. The pain may be characterized as a dull ache, shooting or piercing pain, or a burning sensation. The pain may radiate into the arms and hands as well as the legs or feet, and may include tingling, weakness or numbness in the legs and arms. The most common area of pain is the lower back, or lumbar area. The pain may originate from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine. Internal structures such as the gallbladder and pancreas may also refer pain to the back.
There are several potential sources and causes of back pain. However, the diagnosis of specific tissues of the spine as the cause of pain presents problems.