Back Pain : Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, And Prevention


Back pain is the pain felt in the back of the body that usually feels like an ache, tension or stiffness. it is classified into :  neck pain, upper/middle back pain, lower back pain and Cox edenia based on the segment affected.

The neck pain occurs in the cervical spine, the upper middle back pain occurs in the thoracic spine, the lower back pain occurs in the lumbar spine and the Cox edenia occurs in the tailbone or the sacral region.

Episodes of back pain may vary depending on duration, it may be acute or chronic :

  • acute pain lasts up to 12 weeks (This type of pain typically comes on suddenly and lasts for a few days or weeks, and is considered a normal response of the body to injury or tissue damage. The pain gradually subsides as the body heals.)
  • chronic pain is pain that persists beyond 12 weeks. ( pain that lasts over 3 months, this type of pain is usually severe, does not respond to initial treatments, and requires a thorough medical workup to determine the exact source of the pain.)

Back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work or go to the doctor and it is the leading cause of disability globally.

Back pain can affect people of any age for different reasons and causes :

The human back is composed of different structures that work together to support the body and enable us to move around. ( problems with any of these structures  can lead to back pain.)

A. Causes of back Pain 

Common causes of back pain may include :

  1. Strained muscles ( muscle pull, or even a muscle tear refers to damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons. You can put undue pressure on muscles during the course of normal daily activities, with sudden heavy lifting, during sports, or while performing work tasks. ) or ligaments from repeated heavy lifting
  2. Sudden and awkward movement
  3. Injuries, fractures or Falls
  4. Arthritis ( Arthritis is a disease that affects your joints (areas where your bones meet and move). Arthritis usually involves inflammation or degeneration (breakdown) of your joints. These changes can cause pain when you use the joint.
  5. Osteoporosis ( Osteoporosis literally means ‘porous bone’. It is a condition where bones become thin and lose their strength, as they become less dense and their quality is reduced. This can lead to broken bones, which cause pain, disability, and make everyday activities extremely difficult. )
  6. , kidney stones or kidneyproblems
  7. Bulging or ruptured discs : discs are areas of tissue that acts ascushions between the bones in the spine ( Disks act as cushions between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine. The soft material inside a disk can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve. However, you can have a bulging or ruptured disk without back pain. Disk disease is often found incidentally when you have spine X-rays for some other reason. )
  8. Cancer or malignant tumors in the spine
  9. Serious infection in the spine
  10. Skeletal irregularities such as “scoliosis”

Everyday activities or posture can also cause back pain including :

  1. Standing or sitting for periods
  2. Long driving sessions without a break
  3. Sleeping on a mattress that does not support the body and keep the spine straight

Risk factors may include :

  1. Age
  2. Lack of exercise
  3. Smoking ( Smokers have increased rates of back pain. This may occur because smoking prompts more coughing, which can lead to herniated disks. Smoking can also decrease blood flow to the spine and increase the risk of osteoporosis. )
  4. Obesity (Excess body weight puts extra stress on your back.)
  5. Psychological conditions. People prone to depression and anxiety appear to have a greater risk of back pain.
  6. Pregnancy
  7. Sedentary lifestyle (A sedentary lifestyle is one that involves very little or no physical exercise, wherein most of the day is spent sitting, lying down and expending very little energy.)
  8. Poor posture (when our spine is positioned in unnatural positions, in which the curves are accentuated, resulting in stressful positions for the joints, muscles and vertebrae. This prolonged poor positioning leads to an accumulation of pressure on these tissues.)

Next Page : Symptoms of back Pain and Diagnosis