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Back Pain: Understanding Causes And Symptoms

Updated on July 8, 2011

Back pain is a temporary or continuous pain originating from nerves, joints, bones, muscles, or other structures of the spine. Around 90 percent of people around the world suffer from back pain once in their lifetime. In most cases, a patient suffering from mild back pain gets cured within 1 to 2 weeks of pain onset. Moderate back pain has the tendency of getting healed within a span of 2 to 4 weeks. But a case of severe back pain can take several months or even years to get cured. Unfortunately, a person suffering from chronic back pain experiences debilitating pain and discomfort throughout his/her lifetime. Back pain problem gets worse with aging and longevity.

Due to the sometimes irreversible nature of back pain, it becomes very important to understand what causes back pain and what are back pain symptoms? Also, if you are having back pain, then knowing about the symptoms and causes can help you prevent back pain to some extent.


Back Pain Symptoms

  • ·Continuous stiffness or aches in the spine
  • ·Sharp pains in the lower back, upper back, or neck
  • ·Severe muscle spasms in the spine
  • ·Pain radiating from low back to buttocks, down to the thigh, and into the calves and toes
  • ·Dull pain in the spine when lying down or getting up from bed
  • ·Pain when changing positions such as from sitting to standing
  • ·Early morning pain in the spine
  • ·Intense bouts of back pain when driving a car or operating machinery
  • ·Pain in the spine when doing household tasks such as vacuuming, picking a bucket of water, mopping the floor, or mowing lawns.

What Causes Back Pain

There are several pathological conditions that cause back pain and they are:

  • Incorrect posture: The most common cause of back pain is incorrect posture of sitting and sleeping. In this case, the pain can be relieved with postural correction exercises and techniques. Postural Yoga exercises can also help curb back pain to some extent.
  • Muscle or ligament strains, sprains, and spasms: A sudden ligament or muscle strain, sprain, or spasm can cause back pain. These injuries are considered to be mild and get cured within a few weeks.
  • Osteoarthritis of the spine: A condition causing back pain where spinal joints and cartilages get degenerated due to an osteoarthritic disease process targeting the spine.
  • Herniated disc: This is a condition caused by extensive wear and tear of the spine. Herniated disc is also commonly called as slipped disc that causes back pain. This can also caused by external trauma to the spinal canal.
  • Osteoporosis: A condition in older women where bones get brittle and porous causing back pain and discomfort.
  • Old age: Aging is another cause of back pain. As a person grows old, spine becomes weak and fragile causing discomfort and pain when doing activities of daily living.
  • Fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, motor vehicle accidents, spondylolisthesis, and sports injuries are other common conditions that cause back pain.

Unfortunately, any person in the world can have a sudden trigger of back pain and the intensities can range from mild to moderate and moderate to high but whatever is the reason of your back pain, understanding it causes and symptoms well in advance can help you prevent it to some extent.


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    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I hope you don't mind my saying, it would be good to include a disclaimer here that anyone who has back pain should get it checked out by a medical doctor or other qualified practitioner.

      Back pain can be caused by tumors in the pelvic area, congenital structural defects not discovered until adulthood, and although rarely these days, childhood exposure to tuberculosis.

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Yes, I have seen several people around me even a few in my office who have back pain on a constant basis. Even I have back pain sometimes when I sit on computers for an extended period of time. It can also happen when driving long distances or when watching TV in an awkward or incorrect position.

    • Lauryallan profile image

      Lauryallan 6 years ago

      Yeah back pain is one of those things that a lot of people just live with. Most people don;t even get it checked out, if it's not severe.

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you so much Apostle Jack and AC for your comments.

    • profile image

      A C Witschorik 6 years ago

      Great Hub - Filled with interesting facts

    • profile image

      Apostle Jack 6 years ago

      You said it well.

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you so much Adventure Colorad.

    • Adventure Colorad profile image

      Adventure Colorad 6 years ago from Denver,CO

      Well written and very informative. Nice hub, votted up!