Back Pain: Overview, Causes and Treatments

One of the most common problems among people worldwide, back pain is associated with the way our bones, muscles, and ligaments in the back work and connect. Back pain is associated with people of all age groups, although it is slightly more common between ages of 35-55 years.

Back Pain Area

Back pain comes mainly associated with two areas, low back, and upper back. Low back pain could be caused by problems such as discs between the vertebrae, bony lumbar spine, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, lower back muscles, abdomen and internal pelvic organs, and the skin around the lumbar area.

Upper back pain, on the other hand, could be linked with aorta disorders, chest tumors, or spine inflammation.

Back Pain Causes

There are multiple aspects of our back, mainly due to the complexity of it which could lead to pain. A human back is a structure consisting of muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and disks. A simple problem with any of those could instantly lead to back pain. While these are the primary known reasons, there exist some kinds of back pain that may not have a basis or cause listed.

Common causes of Back Pain

Problems with Structures

The vertebrae are cushioned between disks, and many a time, due to external or internal reasons, these discs might rupture, causing more pressure on the nerves around. This causes intense back pain. The discs, on the other hand, could also bulge. Problems like sciatica or irritation of the sciatic nerve are caused due to a bulging disc, pressing on the nerve. Basically, disk injury is a very common reason for back pain. Herniated disks, as well, could be very painful too.

Herniated Disks - Back Pain

Back pain could also be due to abnormalities of the skeleton. These are including problems of scoliosis or arthritis which narrows the spinal canal. Osteoporosis, which causes loss of bone density and thinning of the bone, can lead to fractures in the vertebrae, which can result in severe pain. They are also referred to as compression fractures.


One of the other major causes of back pain is associated with strain or stress. Pressure on the back could be caused by heavy lifting, overactivity or sudden, awkward movements. Stress could also be caused when the person plays plenty of sports or has more physical work part of their routine.

Other Causes of Back Pain

If the doctor rules out the most common causes of back pain such as structural or strain issues, further tests could be conducted to determine the exact cause which might be:

  • Narrowing of the spinal canal, or spinal stenosis
  • Displacement of one vertebral body onto another, known as degenerative spondylolisthesis
  • Loss of nerve function in the lower spinal cord
  • Fungal or bacterial infection in the spine,
  • Cancer or a non-malignant tumor in the spine

Common Symptoms of Back Pain

  • Aching sensation in upper or lower back parts.
  • A stabbing or shooting pain that can drive down to the leg
  • Inability to stand up or sit straight without being in pain
  • Diminished flexibility and decreased horizon of movements for the body.

Aching Sensation In Back


Doctors usually diagnose back pain depending on several factors in the patient suffering from it.

  • If the patient can walk and stand
  • The range of motion in the spine
  • Strength in the leg
  • Is the patient able to detect sensations in the leg?
  • Overall reflexes


When the patient visits the doctor with back pain complaints, depending on the type of back pain or which part of the back the pain is occurring; the following recommendations are usually made by the doctor –

Pain relievers.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium could be used. These medications and their doses are set precariously by the doctor as overuse of it could also cause serious complications or side-effects.

Relaxants and Topical medications

Muscle relaxants could also be suggested as they help improve a condition which may not aid improvement with the medications mentioned above. Then there are topical pain relievers as well which are usually creams, ointments etc.


Several drugs deemed as Narcotics like codeine or hydrocodone could also be used but under the close supervision of the doctor and only for a shorter period. Antidepressants of certain kinds are also known to relieve pain.

Injections are administered by the doctor if any of the above methods don’t work for the back pain.

Physical therapy and exercise

Doctors in most conditions recommend the use of physical therapy. The therapist could also introduce a variety of related treatments like heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and muscle release treatments, all to reduce pain.

Physical Therapy For Back Pain Relief

The therapist could also introduce exercises which are the essential part of physiotherapy.

Back Pain Surgery

The surgery part of back pain relieving treatments are part of extreme measures, which ideally is needed only by a few people. If the conditions turn extreme and untreatable by the other remedies, then the doctor suggests surgical options, usually associated with structural problems, narrowing of the spine or when the case is of a herniated disk.

Back pain as universal a problem it is has varied symptoms and causes. For most people, the problem might be different and in a way unique. Doctors around the world are equipped to dealing with back pain as it is one of the most common issues around the globe. The treatments, when appropriately followed could be highly useful, but if the pain continues to persist even after three months from the first time, the problem could be chronic.

About The Hospital

Medisys Hospitals is a growing super speciality hospital in Hyderabad that represents the vision and mission of a group of highly qualified and experienced veteran medical professionals. Started in June 2016, it is a 200-bedded hospital with all medical and surgical specialties available. We rely on our in-house state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities to provide high-level care for our patients.