It’s not uncommon to experience occasional back pain. Although it lingers for some people, the discomfort usually subsides within hours or days with self-care treatment. However, when the pain becomes persistent or worsens over time, it may be an indication of a more serious injury or condition.

In some cases, back pain can spread to other areas of the body. For men this can include the testicles. The testicular area is very sensitive, and even the smallest injury can cause irritation or discomfort. While there are a number of direct causes of testicular pain, pain or injuries in other areas of the body can also trigger discomfort in the male genitalia.

Possible causes of lower back and testicular pain include:

Epididymitis

Epididymitis is inflammation of the epididymis — the coiled tube at the rear of the testicle. While it affects adult men of all ages, epididymitis is more common among men between the ages of 20 and 30. This condition is often caused by a bacterial infection, including common sexually transmitted infections. Trauma, urinary tract infections, and viral infections can also trigger epididymitis.

While testicular pain and discomfort are primary symptoms, other symptoms associated with this condition include:

Testicular or scrotal pain should not be ignored. If you’re diagnosed with bacterial epididymitis, you’ll need to take antibiotics to treat it. Your doctor may also prescribe pain-relieving medication to relieve discomfort. If your condition worsens or if an abscess ends up forming, you may need surgery to drain it. In more severe cases, your epididymis may need to be surgically removed.

Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infections are infections in your urinary system, including your kidney, ureters, bladder, and urethra. While women are at a greater risk of developing this type of infection, men are also susceptible.

Common UTI symptoms include:

Antibiotics are typically the main course of treatment for urinary tract infections. Symptoms usually improve within a few days, but your doctor may decide that you require treatment for a week or more.

Testicular cancer

Although testicular cancer is rare — affecting about 1 of every 250 males — it’s the most common form of cancer in men ages 15–35. Testicular cancer occurs in one or both of the testes, located inside the scrotum. The cause of this form of cancer is unclear in most cases, but it’s understood that testicular cancer forms when healthy cells in the testes become altered and abnormal.

Common signs and symptoms of cancer in the testes include:

  • breast tenderness or enlargement
  • lump in the testicle
  • dull ache in the abdomen or groin
  • testicular pain
  • back pain

Testicular cancer can be treated, even if it has spread past the testicles. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy options can help to kill cancer cells and may be considered as recommended treatment in addition to surgical options. If your testicular cancer has progressed, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove nearby lymph nodes in addition to removing the affected testicle. Discuss all your options with your doctor before pursuing treatment.

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a form of nerve damage that occurs from diabetes mellitus. When your blood glucose level becomes too high, it can lead to damage in nerves throughout your body, most commonly in your legs and feet.

Symptoms vary from one person to the next depending on which nerves are affected. Common symptoms include:

There is no known cure for diabetic neuropathy. Treatment focuses primarily on relieving pain and slowing disease progression. Doctors will recommend staying within a specific range of target blood sugar levels and may prescribe medication to alleviate nerve pain.

While back pain in some cases is mild and considered part of the aging process at times, significant testicular pain is not normal. If you are experiencing irregular genital pain or aches, seek immediate medical attention. Do not self-diagnose. Your condition may require antibiotics and further medical evaluation and treatment.