What are the Causes of Back Pain? 5 Facts

Doctor Loy

Updated on:

What is the Cause of my Back Pain?

    Back pain is a significant complaint, accounting for most disability cases globally. The linkages between back pain and causation are several, ranging from collision, injury, poor posture, age, wear & tear, arthritis, and other medical conditions like shingles or spinal infection. 

    Your occupation, health status, activity level, and age will largely determine the chances of the onset of back pain. Nevertheless, back pain can happen to anyone. 

    If you or someone you know is experiencing back pain and unsure of what caused it, we'll be discussing the several causes and symptoms of back pain so that you can better understand its origins.

    We'll also discuss ways to treat back pain both on your own and medically, under the supervision of a healthcare provider. You'll also learn preventative measures, so you don't reach the point of pain and injury.

     Chronic back pain can be uncomfortable and acutely debilitating at its worst. Back pain can be managed by approaching your health with a preventative, proactive mentality and giving it the attention it deserves. 

    Causes of Back Pain

    As mentioned, back pain is quite common. Millions of people experience it daily, which is the leading cause of disability in America and worldwide. 

    So, if you're suffering from back pain, chronic or acute, you're not alone. The good news is that there are treatments, and back pain can be well managed depending on the severity. 

    Back pain comes in many forms and fashions, from strains, sprains, herniated discs, and degenerative disorders, to arthritis, deformities, infections, and tumors. Back pain can also be caused in many ways by several different circumstances. For example, depending on the location of your pain, some causes are more likely than others. 

    For example, if you're experiencing spinal discomfort, it may be attributed to a herniated disc or degenerative condition. However, if you're experiencing acute lower back pain, it can often be a result of an overuse injury, poor posture, or lack of strength throughout your posterior chain. Finally, if you've suffered from trauma, this can lead to significant pain throughout the back and other parts of the body. 

    The following is a list of the several causes of back pain, both standard and uncommon:

    • Trauma (i.e., collision, car accident)
    • Arthritis 
    • Benign Tumor
    • Infection
    • Osteoporosis 
    • Overuse Injury (i.e., spasm, muscular tension, strain, sprain, fracture)
    • Disc disease (i.e., ruptured, bulging, herniated) 
    • Sciatica 
    • Scoliosis 
    • Shingles
    • Cancer of the Spine
    • Kidney Problems 
    • Osteomyelitis

    The causes above, though not all-encompassing, are an extensive list of potential causes of your back pain. Such causes are:

    • Typically the result of everyday activities such as heavy lifting.
    • Twisting the wrong way.
    • Sitting in a poor position for long periods.

    Other causes result from a more severe circumstance, typically medically related, such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, and traumatic accidents. 

    Symptoms of Back Pain

    The most apparent symptoms of back pain are, of course, general aches and tenderness around the source. Depending on the severity, these pain symptoms can extend down your leg and elsewhere. 

    What is the Cause of my Back Pain?

    If you've “thrown out your back” from misuse or overuse, it's usually only a minor strain. If this is the case, symptoms will often improve quickly. Just be sure to rest and allow the healing process to occur optimally. 

    If you've done more extensive damage to your back, medical attention and more diligent forms of treatment may be necessary.

    Below are the several associated symptoms of back pain: 

    • Aching in the lower back

    • Shooting pain through the sciatic nerve

    • Stiffness and tenderness

    • Debilitation and poor mobility 

    • Numbness or weakness 

    • Inability to sleep or find comfort 

    • Loss of internal control systems (i.e., bowel and bladder)

    • Muscle spasms

    While some symptoms are more severe than others, many are treatable.

    How to Treat or Prevent Back Pain

    A common theme with back pain, or any physiological pain, is lifestyle changes. If you're experiencing pain and unsure how it was caused, it can likely be treated by exercise, diet, and quitting poor habits. While it may not make sense how what you eat and exercise can reduce pain, it plays a massive role in physiological health.

    However, if you've suffered from a traumatic injury or live with chronic conditions like arthritis or sciatic nerve damage, treatments must be more extensive and typically include medical attention.

    While the best medicine is and always will be prevention, below are the most common effective treatments used to manage back injuries, both mild and severe: 

    • Lifestyle changes (i.e., diet and exercise)

    • Steroidal injections 

    • Anti-inflammatory prescription medication

    • Muscle relaxants 

    • Surgical procedures 

    • Rest and recovery 

    • Postural improvements 

    • Physical rehabilitation 

     Adopting a proactive and preventative approach to your physiological and general health is essential, as seeking professional help promptly and doing all necessary to optimize success during your rehabilitation journey.  


    Because back pain is such a prominent occurrence, it's imperative to take the proper precautionary and preventative measures to ensure that you can adequately deal with its possibility. 

    In addition, simply coping with back pain shouldn't be the primary way to approach the pain. Instead, if you begin to experience any symptoms of back pain, mild or severe, it's essential to take the initiative to seek treatment, whether on your own or with the help of a doctor.

    Overall, you can manage back pain through decisions within your control. Moreover, if you do experience back pain, it can be treated.

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