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No timetable for Menino's release from hospital as doctors focus on back pain

Eighteen days after admittance to Brigham and Women's Hospital, Mayor Thomas Menino is dealing with increased back pain. The virus that prompted an early return from a trip to Italy with his wife appears to have gone away, doctors said.

There is no timeline for his release, doctors said.

"His spirits are excellent," Dr. Dale Adler said at a press conference at the hospital. The focus is on what's causing him back pain, he added.

He can walk and has therapy sessions twice a day, Adler said.

Adler was joined at the presser by Dr. Charles Morris and Menino press secretary Dot Joyce.

Menino is feeling pain from a compression fracture in his back, which he suffered after he checked himself in, and over the last several days has become worse, doctors said.

Joyce attempted to brush aside political questions from reporters, since 2013 is a municipal election year. The press conference is unlikely to end chatter, which increased significantly over the last week, about a run for sixth term.

And this, from last year, remains true today:

His every trip to the hospital, every missed public event, every hire and departure is watched and analyzed zealously. If the city’s chattering class were privy to which side of the bed Mayor Thomas Menino gets out of every morning, that information would be dissected for a day-by-day comparison. Welcome to Year Two of the mayor’s fifth four-year term, which may or may not be his last. (Only the mayor, and perhaps the Boston Globe’s editorial board, with its occasional glimpses into Menino’s soul, know for sure.)... Sometimes, Boston can be seen less as a shining city upon a hill and more as a rumor mill grinding away on top of a landfill.

The last week has seen more grist for the mill.