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All about Back Pain

What is Back Pain?

Back Pain is a common condition that happens to everyone once in a while but if it’s persistent, then there might be some severe underlying condition and it’s one of the leading causes of disability globally. Back pain can lead to various types of injuries, disorders, or diseases and mostly it causes muscle injury or tendons in the back. Back pain may differ from severe to mild. In some serious cases, it makes it difficult or impossible to walk, work, sleep, and do normal daily activities.

Mostly, it gets better with proper rest, and medicines including pain relievers, and also can be treated with physical therapy. Cortisone injections and hands-on treatments can ease the pain and fasten the healing process. Surgery might be needed in some serious cases.

What are the Types of Back Pain?

There are three types of back pain including:

Acute back pain: This type of back pain occurs all of a sudden and it normally lasts for a few days to a few weeks.

Subacute back pain: It may happen both suddenly or gradually and lasts 4 to 12 weeks.

Chronic back pain: It might develop rapidly or sometimes slowly and it can last for more than 12 weeks and happens daily and it’s the most painful type of back pain.

What are The Symptoms of Back Pain?

The symptoms of back pain include:

The symptoms of back pain may range from muscle pain to a sensation of burning, shooting, burning, or stabbing. Along with this, the pain can extend to the lower part of the body, and doing things such as twisting, bending, lifting, walking, and standing can worsen it. Some other symptoms may include:

Stiffness: You might find it difficult to straighten or move your back. If you are sitting then standing up can take a while, and you may feel that there is a  need to walk or stretch to loosen up yourself. You might feel a reduced range of motion.

Posture problems: A large number of people suffering from back pain find it difficult to stand up straight. Your standing posture can be bent or “distorted” along with your torso being off to the side instead of aligning with your spine. Your lower back will look flat instead of curved.

Muscle spasms: Post strain, the muscles in your lower back can spasm or contract uncontrollably. Muscle spasms might cause severe pain and will make it difficult or impossible to move, stand, or walk.

What are The Causes of Back Pain?

Some common cause of back pain includes:

Muscle or ligament strain: Regularly lifting heavy things or some awkward movements can cause strain in the back muscles and spinal ligaments. In people with poor physical condition, regular strain on the back may result in painful muscle spasms.

Bulging or ruptured disks: The function of disks is to act as cushions in between the bones amidst the spine. The soft material inside a disk can swell or rupture which may put pressure on a nerve which can cause back pain.

Arthritis: The lower back can be affected by arthritis which might result in back pain. In a few instances, arthritis in the spine can cause narrowing of the space near the spinal cord, which is a disorder called spinal stenosis and it might trigger back pain.

Osteoporosis: The spine’s vertebrae may cause painful breaks if the bones become brittle and porous.

Ankylosing spondylitis:  Ankylosing spondylitis is also known as axial spondyloarthritis. It’s an inflammatory disorder and might create a few of the bones in the spine to fuse. This leads to the spine becoming less flexible and can cause back pain.

Injury: Injuries are one of the main causes of back pain like meeting with an accident, sleeping in the bathroom, falling from stairs or any simple injury to the back can cause back pain.

Diseases: Diseases such as spine tumors, some infections, and various types of cancer can result in back pain. Other diseases such as kidney stones and abdominal aortic aneurysms can also cause back pain.

What are the Risk Factors of Back Pain?

The risk factors of back main mainly include:

Age: Back pain starts developing while you grow old, especially during the 40s and above.

Lack of exercise: If you don’t do any kind of exercise then the weak, and unused muscles in the back and abdomen can cause back pain.

Being Obese: Obesity pouts excess body weight that causes stress on the back.

  • Diseases. Diseases like arthritis and cancer might cause back pain.
  • Improper lifting
  • While lifting heavy things using the back instead of other body parts like hands or legs may cause back pain.
  •  Psychological conditions
  • People who have depression and anxiety might have a  greater risk of getting back pain.

Stress: Stress causes muscle tension, which can be a factor in back pain.

Smoking: Smokers have high chances of getting back pain because smoking causes coughing, which may cause herniated disks. Smoking also can reduce blood flow to the spine and increase the risk of back pain.

What are the Complications of Back Pain?

The complications of back pain include:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Herniated disc
  • Poor Performance in job and studies
  • Degenerative Disc Disease

How Back Pain Is Diagnosed?

X-ray: These images show arthritis or broken bones and the images that come do not shows issues with the muscles, spinal cord, disks, or nerves, but give hints about where the back pain is.

MRI or CT scans: These scans generate images that can reveal herniated disks or problems with bones, muscles, tissue, tendons, nerves, ligaments, and blood vessels.

Blood tests: Blood tests aid to find out whether an infection or other issue is causing the pain.

Nerve studies: Electromyography (EMG) is a part of nerve studies that checks the electrical impulses created by the nerves and the way muscles are responding to them. This test might confirm pressure on the nerves that may be caused by herniated disks or narrowing of the spinal canal

What Are The Treatment Options Available for Back Pain?


Topical pain relievers: Topical pain relievers include lotions, pain relief creams, ointments, patches, and salves, which treat the pain by applying to the skin where there is pain.

Narcotics: Sometimes if other medicines are not working then doctors give medicines containing opioids, like oxycodone or hydrocodone, but in moderation, because you can become dependent on it and it is used for a short period under close medical supervision.

Antidepressants: A few types of antidepressants like duloxetine (Cymbalta) and tricyclic antidepressants, like amitriptyline, are helpful to ease chronic back pain.


In the cases of severe injuries and conditions may need surgery and there are several types of surgeries available to treat back pain, like various minimally invasive techniques.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy helps to make the muscles strong so that they can support your spine. It also improves flexibility and helps in avoiding other injuries.

Living with Back Pain

Living with back pain can be stressful and overwhelming because it can make doing your daily tasks difficult and might affect your performance in your job/college but there are millions of people suffering from it and once in a while everyone goes through it. Most back pain slowly gets cured by home treatment and self-care, normally in a few weeks. If your pain lasts longer than expected then it might be a severe case of back pain and you shall visit a doctor who will treat you because back pain is not an incurable disease.

Whom to Consult

If you experience symptoms of back pain for more than a week, then you shall consult a doctor immediately. In some rare instances, back pain can signal an underlying serious medical condition so in such cases get yourself diagnosed and get immediate care for back pain that causes new bladder or bowel problems expected then it might be a severe case of back pain and you shall visit a doctor who will treat you because back pain is not an incurable disease. In some rare instances, back pain can signal an underlying serious medical condition so in such cases get yourself diagnosed and get immediate care for back pain that causes new bladder or bowel problems.

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