The Truth About Back Pain

The Truth About Back Pain

The truth about back pain is that it can often be prevented and that, once it occurs, a number of effective treatments are available to treat it. Over recent years, the causes and effects of back pain have become better understood, making it easier to find the right remedy to provide relief.

Back pain can have a number of causes and a range of symptoms that affects your comfort and your mobility. Some of these causes are physical in nature, others are systemic and relate to your general health.

Why it’s Important to understand the underlying causes of back pain

Information about the causes of back pain can help to determine the right treatment and can help prevent further injury.

Differentiating acute and chronic back pain

Acute back pain comes on suddenly and is severe. Chronic back pain can be low-grade discomfort but on a sustained basis.

Exploring the various types of back pain

Back pain can have various aspects that indicate its cause and potential methods of treatment

Neck pain (cervical pain)

Neck pain can be caused by injury to the upper portion of the spinal column, overuse or repetitive motions.

Middle back pain (thoracic pain)

Middle back pain, also called thoracic back pain, can be caused by injury to the area or bad posture.

Lower back pain (lumbar pain)

Lower back pain is often a result of straining from lifting activities or repetitive motions. Trauma to the spine can also cause pain.

Acute back pain

Acute back pain can be sharp and can be debilitating, preventing you from doing your normal activities.

Chronic back pain

Back pain that occurs frequently and affects daily life is considered chronic back pain.

Radicular pain

Radicular pain is pain from compressed nerve roots, which can be a part of back problems.

Referred pain

Referred pain is pain you feel in one part of the body that actually originates in another part. For example, you may have a kidney infection that causes pain in the back.

Axial pain

Axial pain is the most common type of back pain. It is generally limited to a specific area and resolves with appropriate care.

Mechanical back pain

Mechanical back pain describes discomfort that is related to specific movements that can be treated conservatively and resolve with time.

Neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain is pain that comes from nerve compression that originates in the back and spinal column.

Common Causes of Back Pain

Experts recognize a number of common factors that can contribute to back pain.

Disc degeneration and herniation

Disc degeneration and herniation can often occur as a result of aging or injury and can lead to back pain.

Facet joint dysfunction

Facet joints are small joints located on the back side of the spine that prevent excessive movement. They can become dysfunctional due to injury, aging or overuse.

Muscle or ligament strain

Strain from overuse, repetitive motions or injury can cause damage to muscles and ligaments connected to the back and spinal column.

Bulging or ruptured discs

The discs lie between the vertebrae and help to cushion the bones during movement. These discs can become damaged, which can lead to back pain.


Arthritis is a disorder that causes inflammation of bone and connecting tissue and is associated with the normal wear and tear on tissues due to aging. According to the Cleveland Clinic site, arthritis can also lead to back pain symptoms.

Skeletal irregularities

Some individuals may have skeletal irregularities that have a genetic origin that may lead to problems with back pain.


Osteoporosis often occurs with aging and can lead to deterioration in the bones that make up the spine.

Injury or trauma

Injuries from auto accidents, falls or sports impacts can lead to back pain.


Carrying excess weight can put additional strain on the structures of the spine and can lead to back pain.

Poor posture

Holding your body in a dysfunctional way for a long period of time can result in back pain.


Hormonal and physical changes that occur during pregnancy can lead to back pain.

Kidney stones or infections

According to the Harvard Health Publishing site, pain from kidney stones or a kidney infection can radiate to the back.

Risk Factors for Developing Back Pain

Work tasks that involve lifting or repetitive motions, obesity and lack of exercise are all risk factors for back pain.

Age-related factors

The normal wear and tear of everyday movement over the years can eventually lead to back problems, due to degeneration in the discs that cushion the spinal vertebrae, arthritis and stenosis, which narrows the interior of the spinal column.

Lifestyle choices impacting back health (e.g. lack of physical activity)

Staying active and engaging in regular exercise is one of the best ways to prevent weakness in spinal structures and back pain. Maintaining a healthy weight is related to exercise and a healthy diet and can help you avoid back problems.

Genetics and family history

Genetic factors and family history can be the cause of certain types of weakness in the spinal structures, which can result in frequent back pain symptoms.

Debunking Some Back Pain Myths

Contrary to the myth that bed rest is indicated for back pain, lack of activity can make pain worse. Similarly, the myth that a herniated disc always needs surgery is not correct. Another myth, back pain is a sign of aging is incorrect. Dysfunction in the spine from an injury or bad posture can occur at any age.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are 3 causes of lower back pain

Strains and sprains are among the most common causes of back pain, which often results from poor lifting techniques or overuse activities. Disc problems from injury or aging are also a common cause of back pain. Arthritis, which is another common cause of back pain, can cause progressive deterioration of spinal structures.

How do you stop back pain

You can stop back pain by taking over-the-counter NSAIDS pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen, as directed. Doing stretching exercises can help to reduce back discomfort.

How back pain affect your life

You may not be able to perform your usual work tasks, or you may give up recreational activities that you enjoy, because of chronic pain. Even engaging in social activities can be curtailed by chronic discomfort and problems with mobility. Taking pain relievers for back pain can make you groggy and out of sorts.

Why does my back hurt everyday

Chronic back pain can be a result of excessive weight, a disc problem or osteoarthritis from aging.

What is the biggest cause of back pain

Strain and sprain are the biggest cause of back pain problems.

Is lower back pain a worry

Lower back pain is common and generally not a worry. However, if pain worsens or affects your ability to perform in daily life, you should get immediate medical attention.

What is the best medicine for back pain

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are the most effective medicines for back pain.

How do I sleep with back pain

A supportive mattress will help you to sleep with your back problem. You may require pain relieving medication or additional pillows at night to allow you to sleep comfortably.

Can lack of calcium cause back pain

If your diet does not provide sufficient calcium, it can affect your bones and can lead to back pain.

What diseases start with lower back pain

Kidney infection or kidney stones can cause back pain. Liver problems and pancreatitis can have back pain as a symptom. Urinary tract infections, endometriosis, fibroids and pelvic inflammatory disease can cause back pain. Various types of cancer can also cause back pain symptoms.

What organ is related to lower back pain

The kidneys are known to have a strong relationship to back pain because of their placement within the human body. When there’s a problem within the kidneys, such as an infection, tumor or other issue, back pain is often one of the most common symptoms.

How do you get rid of lower back pain fast

Over the counter NSAIDS pain relievers are often the fastest way to deal with back pain. Stretching exercises can also be an effective way to reduce back pain quickly.

Can kidneys cause back pain

A kidney infection can cause back pain. Kidney stones, which are small accumulations of minerals that can block blood and urine flow to and from the kidneys, can also cause back pain, as well as pain in the sides and the ribs.

Can stress cause back pain

Stress can cause back pain, due to chronic muscle tension. Tense muscles can cause you to hold your body in an unnatural position that can put pressure on tendons, ligaments and nerves. Over time, this can lead to chronic back pain.

Is back pain a health issue

Back pain can be a health issue, because it is sometimes a symptom of a medical problem in the body. In addition, chronic back pain can prevent individuals from getting regular exercise.

What causes back pain in females

According to the Healthline site, premenstrual hormone fluctuations can cause low back pain, as can menstrual cramps. The hormonal and physical changes of pregnancy can cause significant back pain symptoms. Certain gynecological disorders like endometriosis can cause back pain.

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