Top 10 Causes of Back Pain
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Back pain has various causes, including accidents, injuries, and underlying health conditions. The severity of back pain ranges from mild to debilitating.
The 10 most common causes of back pain include the following:
- Muscle or ligament strain
The most common cause of back pain is a muscle or ligament strain. This occurs when a muscle or ligament is stretched too far, causing damage. It can happen suddenly, such as with a sudden awkward movement, or over time, such as with repetitive heavy lifting or poor posture.
- Herniated disc
Spinal discs are the cushions between the bones of the spine. The jelly-like interior of a disc can bulge out and compress a nerve, which can cause pain.
When arthritis affects the spine, it can lead to inflammation, instability and pain. This can occur with osteoarthritis, which develops from natural “wear and tear” on the body, or with rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease.
- Degenerative disc disease
The discs between the bones of the spine naturally lose moisture during the aging process. This can lead to weakening of the disc walls, which can cause pain.
- Spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis occurs when the space within the spinal canal is narrowed due to osteoarthritis or other changes to the spine. The narrowed space creates painful pressure on nerves. Stenosis can occur in the neck or lower back.
The bones of the spine can fracture due to trauma, such as a car accident or fall, or due to osteoporosis, which causes the bones to become brittle.
Deformity of the spine, such as the curvature that occurs with scoliosis, can lead to the breakdown of discs and joints in the spine, which can cause pain.
- Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS)
MPS is a chronic pain condition that involves trigger points or sensitive spots in the muscles that cause pain in the body. Oftentimes, trigger points occur in the lower back.
- Gallbladder issues
Pain in the upper back may be related to the gallbladder. Gallstones can cause pain between the shoulder blades.
Fibromyalgia can cause pain throughout the body. The upper back is commonly affected.