Discussing Back Pain in Spanish

Discussing Back Pain in Spanish

Describing back pain in Spanish

This free Medical Spanish lesson focuses on discussing back pain in Spanish: el dolor de espalda. In this lesson I teach on

  • common causes of back pain
  • anatomy of the back and areas that are commonly painful
  • pain descriptions in Spanish
  • common tests and procedures to assess back pain

Here is the Medical Spanish back pain lesson I taught to the Facebook group:

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Related lessons you may want to review:

How to talk about pain in Spanish
OLDCARTS in Spanish: History of the problem in Spanish
OLDCARTS History of the Problem in Spanish

This post includes tons of vocabulary related to back pain in Spanish, so if you want to review any specific vocabulary in Spanish, just click on these menu items:

Anatomía relevante / Relevant Anatomy

Let’s start with a quick review of the body parts related to the back pain and their names in Spanish 🙂

El coxis  The coccyx
El cuello (la nuca)The neck (nape)
El discoThe disc
El musloThigh
El sacroThe sacrum
La cinturaThe waist
La columna vertebralSpinal column
– Cervical  – Cervical
– Toráxica– Thoracic
– Lumbar

 (el espinazo, la espina dorsal)

– Lumbar

 (the spine, the spine)

La espaldaThe back
La ingleThe groin
La médula espinalSpinal cord
La pelvisPelvis
La vértebraThe vertebra
Las piernasThe legs
Los costadosSides
Los glúteosButtocks
Los hombrosShoulders
Los ligamentos  The ligaments
Los músculosThe muscles
Los nerviosThe nerves
Los riñonesThe kidneys

Signos y síntomas / Signs and Symptoms

Now you have mastered the basic anatomy, it’s time to learn and understand the most common signs and symptoms of back pain

– Intenso– Intense
– Muscular– Muscular
– Que corre para abajo– That runs down
– Moderado– Moderate
Entumecimiento  Numbness
Movimiento limitadoLimited movement
Orina turbiaCloudy Urine

Causas comunes / Common Causes

This is a short list of the most common causes of back pain both in English and Spanish that you can use to talk through a diagnosis with your patient.

1. Disco herniado o roto:1. Herniated or broken disk:
El disco es el cartílago entre las vértebrasThe disc is the cartilage between the vertebrae
Si se comprime, sale de su lugar o rompe,  causa mucho dolor e inhibe el movimiento  If it is compressed, goes out of place or breaks, it causes a lot of pain and inhibits movement
2. Esguinces y Distensiones:2. Sprains and strains:
Un estiramiento excesivo o desgarro en el ligamento, tendón o músculo, puede ocurrir con levantar objetos pesados o torcerse de manera incorrectaExcessive stretching or tearing of the ligament, tendon or muscle can occur with lifting heavy objects or twisting incorrectly
Pueden causar espasmos en los músculos de la espalda y provocar dolorThey can cause spasms in the muscles of the back and cause pain
3. Estenosis espinal:3. Spinal stenosis:
El canal de una o más vértebras se estrecha y pone presión sobre la médula espinal y los nerviosThe canal of one or more vertebrae narrows and puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves
Causa dolor, entumecimiento y debilidad  It causes pain, numbness and weakness
4. La ciática y nervios comprimidos:4. Sciatica and compressed nerves:
Los nervios de la médula espinal a veces se comprimen o se pellizcanNerves in the spinal cord are sometimes compressed or pinched
Puede pasar después de un accidente, con ciertos movimientos, o por presión de un discoIt can happen after an accident, with certain movements, or by pressure of a disc
Causa dolor que corre, hormigueo, entumecimiento y debilidadIt causes running pain, tingling, numbness and weakness
5. Artritis:5. Arthritis:
Una inflamación de las articulaciones en la espalda –  los espacios entre las vértebrasAn inflammation of the joints in the back – the spaces between the vertebrae
Esta inflamación provoca dolor y rigidezThis inflammation causes pain and stiffness
6. Piedras renales:  6. Kidney stones:
Son cálculos que forman en el riñón y no pueden pasar por las vías urinariasThey are stones that form in the kidney and can not pass through the urinary tract
Causan dolor lumbar, dolor al orinar, orina oscura y otros síntomas de infecciónThey cause low back pain, painful urination, dark urine and other symptoms of infection
7. El embarazo:7. Pregnancy:
Por el peso extra que lleva la mamá en el útero, los músculos de la espalda se esfuerzan más para mantener la posturaBecause of the extra weight that the mother carries in the uterus, the muscles of the back try harder to maintain the posture
Puede producir dolor, músculos adoloridos y rigidezMay cause pain, sore muscles and stiffness

Exámenes y procedimientos / Tests and Procedures

Now you are able to provide a diagnosis, it’s time to talk about the tests and procedure they might need from now on

Para diagnosticar:To diagnose:
Examen físico  Physical exam
Tomografía computada (TAC)Computerized  tomography (CT)
Resonancia magnética (RM)Magnetic resonance (MR)
Radiografía (rayos equis)X-ray (X rays)

Sugerencias para ayudar y prevenir / Suggestions to Help and Prevent

Finally, you can make some suggestions to your patient to improve their lifestyle and avoid feeling pain in the future

Haga ejercicios de fortalecimiento y estiramiento:Do strengthening and stretching exercises:
Ejercicios que fortalecen y estiran los músculos de la espalda y el abdomen le dan mejor equilibrio  Exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles of the back and abdomen give better balance
Más fuerza y mejor equilibrio bajan el riesgo de lesionar la espaldaMore strength and better balance lower the risk of injuring the back
Preste atención a la postura:Pay attention to your posture / position:
Es importante pararse y sentarse con la espalda rectaIt is important to stand up and sit with your back straight
También si usa una computadora en el trabajo hay que asegurar que el monitor y el teclado estén en buena posiciónAlso if you use a computer at work you must ensure that the monitor and keyboard are in good position
Levante objetos pesados con las piernas:Lift heavy objects with your legs:
Hay que doblar las rodillas y mantener la espalda recta cuando levanta objetosYou have to bend your knees and keep your back straight when you lift objects
También es importante pedir ayuda cuando necesita mover objetos pesadosIt is also important to ask for help when you need to move heavy objects
Cambie los movimientos repetitivos:Change the repetitive movements:
Es bueno alternar actividad exigente y actividad menos exigente  It is good to alternate demanding activity and less demanding activity
Y si puede usar equipos para levantar y mover objetos, mejorAnd if you can use equipment to lift and move objects, that’s even better

Now is your turn! ¡Ahora te toca a ti!

Study this back pain in Spanish vocabulary here with these flashcards

Keep up the good work speaking responsible Spanish to your patients! Check out our other books, classes & products to help you learn medical Spanish!

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