7 Main Causes of Back Pain

Back pain
Back pain

Back pain refers to the pain felt in any part of the back like lower, upper or neck. It is a common problem among adults and may have different causes. Sometimes, it is quite difficult to diagnose the real cause of back pain. Strained muscles and ligaments caused by the awkward movement of body can cause back pain. There are several causes for generating and aggravating back pain.

The 7 main causes of back pain are:

1. Arthritis: Arthritis in spine is a common cause of back pain, especially in adults. The pain may be felt anywhere in the back and gets worse while walking and at night. As the condition degenerates the affected area cannot be cured. Exercises like yoga, tai chi and gentle movement can reduce the pain. Different types of arthritis that may cause back pain include:
  • Osteoarthritis : Cartilage that cushions the joints get damaged, bones rub each other causing back pain and stiffness.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis : The joints inflame, thicken and get damaged causing back pain.
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis : The area of spine is attacked leading to stiffness of spine and inflammation causing back pain.
  • Fibromyalgia : The tender points of the spine like neck, shoulders and hips experience mucoskeletal pain and fatigue resulting in sleeping disorder, headaches, numbness of limbs and depression.
  • Osteoporosis : The bones become thin and brittle leading to compression fracture of vertebrae resulting in back pain. The vertebral column becomes so weak that it cannot withstand minor stress.

2. Obesity: Obese people experience back pain frequently. The pain is felt in the neck and lower back. Weight loss can help in reducing this type of back pain.

3. Sleeping Posture: The position and surface on which one sleeps may cause back pain, such as hard surfaces and mattresses. The soft surface tends to put strain on the spine. Some positional changes can reduce this type of back pain.

4. Improper Seating: Back pain can be caused by sitting in an improper position for a prolonged period of time. Maintaining a good and straight posture, using ergonomically designed chairs, taking break for few minutes every hour and stretching helps to cure such back pain.

5. Spine Disc Damage: There are back pains that are caused by damage in the discs of the spine. As a result, the nerves get pinched causing constant back pain. Upper back pain is caused by herniated or damaged discs.

6. Pregnancy and Menstrual Period: Women who are pregnant or in the middle of a menstrual period often complain of lower back pain. During pregnancy the enlarged belly stretches the spine, resulting in back pain.

7. Injury: Injury to the back may happen from an accident or a torn rotator calf in the shoulder. During accidents the body receives large amount of energy or shock within a small period that damages the muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Back pain infographic
Back pain infographic

Other factors like tumors in spine, diabetes, spinal stenosis, body mechanics and age factors may cause back pain. Regular exercise and weight loss measures are recommended to avoid injury and stress. Strengthening the abdominal muscle through exercise often helps in combating lower back pain. It is important to diagnose the causes of back pain to get appropriate treatment.