Back pain can occur when there are mechanical or structural problems in the spine, discs, muscles, ligaments, or tendons in the back. Back pain can range from muscle pain to a stinging, burning, or shooting sensation. In addition, pain may radiate down the leg or worsen when bending, twisting, getting up, standing, or walking. It can be the result of injury, activity, and some medical conditions.
Back pain can affect people of any age, for a variety of reasons. As people age, the likelihood of developing low back pain increases, due to factors such as previous occupation and degenerative disc disease. If you feel that your lower back pain worsens on days when it's cold or the weather changes, you're not imagining things. In fact, back pain can be related to barometric pressure and outside temperature.
Changes in pressure can sometimes cause pain in arthritic joints, including the spine. Muscles and joints in general react to the environment, which can make them stiffer and more prone to injury. Muscle deconditioning, also called muscle atrophy, is one of the most common causes of chronic back pain. Muscle breakdown occurs when your back muscles lack the strength and stability to support you properly, causing wear and tear over time.
Depending on the cause of your back pain, you may also feel pain in your leg, hip, or sole of your foot. The fracture event often occurs when a person is young, although the pain isn't felt until later in life, says Dr. In general, osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis) and degenerative disc disease (the natural wear and tear of spinal discs) are the underlying cause of many types of chronic back pain. If your pain hasn't improved after using medications, physical therapy, and other treatments, your provider may recommend an epidural injection.
Anyone can experience low back pain at any time, even if they haven't had a previous injury or any of the risk factors. But the less you move, the more you'll experience that muscle breakdown, and your pain is likely to worsen. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medications, usually nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can relieve discomfort. If you have no signs of a serious cause for your back pain (such as loss of bowel or bladder control, weakness, weight loss, or fever), you should stay as active as possible.
Usually, your doctor will be able to diagnose back pain after asking about your symptoms and performing a physical exam. Research shows that eight out of 10 Americans will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime. If you have chronic back pain, it may seem like you're feeling constant discomfort or waiting for the pain to return. But even if it's painless, its contents can press on or irritate nearby nerves, causing pain in the lower back and other areas.
However, if the spine curves sideways when viewed from behind, it is called scoliosis, a deformity of the spine that can cause back pain.