According to the latest statistics, there are literally millions of people in the United States alone who suffer from back pain. Whether minor or major, chronic back pain causes varying degrees of debilitation. In fact, for some people pain is so intense that it disrupts all facets of daily living to include work, school, and even childcare.
To achieve long-lasting relief with the right treatment but also avoid future or additional damage, it is important to understand the exact cause of pain being experienced. We want to point out that there are varying causes depending on the region of the back involved but for sake of example, we provided some of the more common, as well as uncommon causes of overall back pain.
Keep in mind that a person can develop back pain based on one or several of the following causes. Because of this, proper diagnosis is imperative to ensure the appropriate treatment is identified.
- Herniated Disc – Also referred to as a “ruptured disc”, this ranks as one of the most common reasons people have back pain. For a bulging disc, opposed to one that has actually herniated, there are a number of therapy options but for a disc that has actually ruptured, surgery might be the only viable solution.
- Spinal Stenosis – With this, space around the spinal canal has narrowed, thereby causing restriction. In addition to pain, this condition leads to poor motor control, numbness, and a tingling sensation. The challenge with spinal stenosis is that it can affect virtually any area of the spine.
- Muscle Strain – This too is one of the main reasons for back pain, particularly within the lower region. Strains are caused by any number of things to include poor posture, improper lifting, and even injury. While painful, back pain caused by muscle strain will typically subside on its own within days or weeks.
- Arthritis – Usually, arthritis is seen within the aging population although it can affect younger people as well. Specific to back pain, arthritis affects the small joints associated with the spine, causing not only pain but also limited flexibility and mobility.
- Degenerative Disease – As the name implies, this disease involves degeneration of any stabilizing structure connected to the spine. There are several different forms of this disease, one being Spondylolisthesis but regardless, once damage has reached a certain point, pain ensues.
Within the list of uncommon causes of back pain listed below, a few are considered rare.
- Paget’s disease – Unfortunately, there is no known cause for this bone disease. However, what experts do know is that the formation of bone is abnormal, which leads to weakness and even deformity. Typically, Paget’s disease impacts people age 50 and older but studies have indicated a possible link to both genetics and viral infections. In any case, specific testing is required for a diagnosis, followed by a proper treatment regimen.
- Tumor – Obviously, the very word “tumor” conjures up horrible thoughts but remember that not all tumors are malignant. Of course, a cancerous tumor on the spine is a very serious matter but even when non-cancerous, this type of problem can cause significant pain, primarily near the actual site.
- Atherosclerosis – Otherwise known as “hardening of the arteries”, many people are surprised to learn that this condition can cause back pain although not in every case.
- Shingles – Interestingly, shingles is an acute infection triggered by the herpes virus, the same infection that also causes chickenpox. With this, nerves responsible for supplying sensation to the skin become infected, causing an extremely painful rash outbreak. In addition to this pain, some people will also experience in the lower back region.
- Infections of the Organs – Finally, back pain can be linked to diseases within organs of the body. As an example, if you have an infection of the gastrointestinal system or kidneys, you will more than likely experience back pain until such time the infection is brought under control.