What are Some Causes of Back Pain?

Mary McMahon

Back pain can be frustrating, and also potentially very dangerous if it is not treated. There are a number of different causes for back pain, some of which can be avoided. In many cases, it will resolve after several days of rest and gentle treatment, although this is not guaranteed. Anyone who is experiencing extreme or prolonged pain should consult a medical professional immediately.

A slipped disc can cause back pain.
A slipped disc can cause back pain.

One of the leading causes of back pain is strain. Improper body mechanics, posture, and lifting practices can lead to strain, especially in the lumbar or lower back. A ruptured or herniated disc can also cause pain, as will a slipped disc. Elderly individuals may be at risk of arthritis and osteoporosis, both of which can cause back pain. In addition, older people are more prone to spinal stenosis, a tightening of the spinal canal. Some infections and inflammations can result in back pain as well. Severe trauma such as falls and car accidents is another source.

Pregnancy can cause back pain in women.
Pregnancy can cause back pain in women.

For simple back pain, rest is sometimes the best cure. Applications of ice and heat may also help, as will some topical rubs. For more extreme pain, surgery, medication, and physical therapy may be in order. A medical professional will decide on the best course of treatment to pursue once he or she has determined what is causing the problem. Sometimes, this may require an exhausting round of tests, since the spine is very complex and the reason behind pain is not always readily apparent, especially when the patient has limited information.

An illustration of a healthy spine and one with spinal osteoarthritis, a common cause of back pain.
An illustration of a healthy spine and one with spinal osteoarthritis, a common cause of back pain.

Several things can help patients avoid back pain. For people in positions which require lifting, proper training should be received on how to lift and handle material. Appropriate braces may need to be worn as well to support the back. Regular exercise and a healthy diet to keep the spine strong and flexible are also useful. Some healthcare professionals may recommend regular massage or physical therapy as well, to help patients keep fit.

A herniated disc can be extremely painful and may limit mobility.
A herniated disc can be extremely painful and may limit mobility.

By taking good care of the body, many people may be able to avoid back pain, especially serious cases. When someone experiences a mild case of back pain, he or she should rest in bed and try to minimize strain on the back. Prolonged or intense pain is a sign that the person needs to seek professional help, as is numbness or tingling in the extremities. People should not hesitate to seek professional attention for pain, since it is better to be safe than sorry.

Improper lifting of heavy objects may cause back pain.
Improper lifting of heavy objects may cause back pain.
A posture back brace may help alleviate back pain.
A posture back brace may help alleviate back pain.
Back pain is often caused by injuries to the muscles.
Back pain is often caused by injuries to the muscles.
Car accidents can lead to back pain.
Car accidents can lead to back pain.
Regular massages may be helpful.
Regular massages may be helpful.

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Discussion Comments

craig12345

Please help. I am a 30 year old active duty marine. I have been suffering from chronic back pain for four years. I am in physical therapy, and i have had countless x rays and MRIs. I have had several steroid injections and epidurals. Nothing will get rid of this pain.

The MRI shows schorm nodes in each vertebrate and a disc protrusion in the thoracic spine. every orthopedist i talk to says the mri shows a healthy back and i should not be in pain. what it seems to come down to is arthritis and tight muscles. i keep getting deployed and my job is such a burden on my back.

i have been taking tramadol for years. it helps but i do not want to be on this stuff for ever. i am in a bad situation here because my job is physically demanding and i will not be put on a limited duty status or removed from the corps for this. the pain in my back can be unbearable at times with no real explanation other than muscles. i am in very good shape and i still exercise. any advice would be great.

anon136526

I,have persistent back pain and pt is not helping at all. my doctor said I have a slight bulging disc in my lower back that is touching a nerve. both my back doctor and pt therapist think I should go back to work.

something doesn't seem right about this and I'm going to get a second opinion, and maybe i can get someone to take me seriously, and give me some kind of intelligent answer why my back hurts.

anon41429

I have a sister who is experiencing extreme back pain. The problem is that she went to couple doctors, but most of them did not know the real cause until now. All they said was that she needs physical therapy. I hope they are right for that, but I still do not understand why she is still suffering this trouble pain. Please, help.

motherteresa

In United States nearly 30% of people have problems with lower back pain. It seems that having extra fat in the belly area is the main culprit. So losing weight should be priority number one.

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