Causes of Back pain and

image back pain

Back pain (also known as dorsalgia) is pain felt in the back that usually originates from the muscles, nerves, bones , joints or other structures in the spine. The spine is a complex interconnecting network of nerves joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, and all are capable of producing pain. Large nerve that originate in the spine and go to the legs and arms can make pain radiate to the extremities.
 The pain can often be divided into neck pain, upper back pain, lower back pain or tailbone pain. It may have a sudden onset or can be a chronic pain; it can be constant or intermittent, stay in one place or radiate to other areas. It may be a dull ache or a sharp or piercing or burning sensation. The pain may radiate into the arm and in the upper back or in the low back and may include symptoms other than pain such as weakness, numbness or tingling.


1. Back pain is one of humanity’s most frequent complaints. In the U.S., acute low back pain also called lumbago is the fifth most common reason for physician visits.

2. About nine out of ten adults experience back pain at some point in their life, and five out of ten working adults have back pain every year.

3. By its duration; acute(less than 4 weeks), sub acute (4-12 weeks), chronic (greater than 12 weeks).

4. Approximately 98% of back pain patients are diagnosed with nonspecific acute back pain which has no serious underlying pathology.


Back pain can be a sign of serious medical problem, although this is not most frequently the underlying cause:

-Typical warning signs of a potentially life-threatening problem are bowel or bladder incontinence or progressive weakness in the legs.

-Severe back pain(such as pain that is bad enough to interrupt sleep) that occurs with other signs of severe illness (e.g. fever, unexplained weight loss) may also indicate a serious underlying medical condition.

-Back pain that occurs after a trauma such as car accident or may indicate a bone fracture or other injury.

-Back pain in individuals with a history of cancer(especially cancers known to spread to the spine like breast, lung and prostate cancer) should be evaluated to rule out metastatic disease of the spine.


There are several potential sources and causes of back pain. However, the diagnosis of specific tissues of the spine as the cause of pain presents problems. This is because symptoms arising from different spinal tissues can feel very similar and is difficult to differentiate without the use of invasive diagnostic intervention procedures such as local anesthetic blocks.

One potential source of  back pain is skeletal muscles of the back. Potential causes of pain in muscle tissue includes;

-Muscle strains

-Muscle spasm

-Muscle imbalances
N:B: Although, imaging studies do not support the notion of muscle tissue damage in many back pain cases, and the neurophysiology  of muscle spasm and muscle imbalances is not well understood.

There are several common other potential sources and causes of back pain,these includes;

-Spinal disc herniation

-Degenerative disc disease or isthmic spondylolisthesis

-Lumbar spinal stenosis



-Fungal or bacteria infection such as tuberculosis, E-coli, staphylococcus


-Inflammatory disease


i. Work in a sedentary environment

ii. Engage in high-impact activity without stretching or warming up first

iii. Are of Older age

iv. Are Obese

v. Are a smoker

Not all treatment work for all conditions or for all individuals with the same condition, and many find that they need to try several treatment options to determine what works best for them. The majority of back pain episodes are relieved by treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
such as:

- Ibuprofen (for example, Motrin)

- Naproxen (for example, Aleve)

- Pain relievers, or analgesics, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), are also an option, though they don’t have as much anti-inflammation properties. Except for acetaminophen, these medications should be taken with food because they can irritate the stomach lining. Be careful with medications like ibuprofen if you have kidney problems or stomach ulcers. Never take more than the recommended dose of over-the-counter medicine without talking to a doctor, as even these medications may have severe side effects if taken incorrectly.

If back pain is severe, your doctor may try other medications that focus on different parts of the pain response, such as gabapentin or amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant. The latter may work better for nerve-related pain.

Your doctor might recommend cortisone steroid injections for severe back pain. Pain relief from steroid injections usually wears off by around three months.

The present stage of the condition (acute or chronic) is also a determining factor in the choice of treatment. Only a minority of back pain patients (most estimates are 1%-10%) require surgery.

Heat therapy is useful for back spasms or other conditions. A meta-analysis of studies by the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that heat therapy can reduce symptoms of acute and sub acute low-back pain. Some patients find that moist heat works best (e.g hot bath or whirlpool) or continuous low level heat (e.g. a heat wrap that stays warm for 4-6 hours).
heat therapy treatment

Cold compression therapy (e.g. ice or cold pack application) may be effective at relieving back pain in some cases.

Causes of Back pain and Causes of Back pain and Reviewed by Gregory on September 18, 2018 Rating: 5


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