Back pain: the most common causes of

why does the back hurt in the lower back

Back pain, according to statistics, about 80% of people of different age categories face this unpleasant and frightening symptom at least once in their life. At the same time, it is important to be able to distinguish between situations in which painful sensations should disturb and when you should not worry.

Of course, if the onset of pain was preceded by physical exertion or a minor blow, within 2-3 days they will dissipate, there is no cause for concern. But if your back hurts badly, for a long time and the pain is not similar to muscle pain, hurry up to see a doctor.

Why my back hurts

The causes of back pain are varied, from minor external factors to the development of all sorts of pathological processes, of which there are also many.

At the same time, doctors still identify 3 common reasons that are most common:

  1. Nonspecific pains- combines a number of factors, among which muscle pains caused by incorrect posture, prolonged stay in one position (uncomfortable), overstrain due to excessive physical exertion on the spine and back. . . This point can also include painful sensations that arose after hypothermia, in such cases they say - "chilled back. "
  2. Irradiating pains- are somewhat less common, but cannot be ruled out. This includes diseases of internal organs located in other parts of the body. For example, the formation of tumors and pulmonary tuberculosis, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, heart and others. In each of these cases, pain can radiate (give) to the back in its various parts.
  3. Mechanical injuries and pathologies of the spine- pain in the spine also occurs due to a huge number of factors, we are talking about pathological processes. These include any diseases of the spinal column, starting with injuries (bruises, fractures, and so on) and ending with osteochondrosis, radiculitis, the formation of hernias and other pathologies of the spine affecting the spine.

These are the main causes of back pain, summarized. All these problems threaten with serious dysfunction of the spine and require a mandatory visit to a doctor.

In some cases, without receiving adequate treatment, there is a risk of developing serious problems that threaten severe complications. If the tissues of the spinal column or spinal cord are affected, there is a risk of paralysis of the limbs or even the whole body.


In order to consult a doctor in a timely manner and correctly describe your complaints to him, you need to have an idea of ​​the symptoms.

At the same time, the symptoms of back pain may differ slightly, and if we take into account the fact that the pain itself is a symptom, one should highlight its main manifestations, which differ in nature and location:

  • By nature, painful sensations are: sharp, dull, stabbing, cutting, aching, pulling, burning, and so on.
  • Painful sensations are strong, moderate and weak, these indicators are individual for each person. However, they need to be considered, for example, when defining treatments for chronic back pain.
  • Back pain along the entire spine is quite rare. More often, painful sensations are either pointlike, or are assigned to a separate section of the spinal column (cervical, thoracic, lumbar).
  • However, it also happens that pain in the upper part of the spine (or any other), radiates. In this case, the pain syndrome affects other parts of the back, it is often called wandering.
  • As a rule, acute pain in the spine is most uncomfortable and affects daily life the most, but it is often wavy and easier to treat. At the same time, dull pains are less intense, but they are constantly present, fixed for a longer period and respond worse to therapy.

These are general guidelines for painful sensations in different areas of the back. But in addition to understanding the general symptoms of pain, it is also important to know that depending on the disease, the clinical picture may change. So in one case, pain is felt between the vertebrae of the cervical spine, in another case it is localized in the lumbar region and has a different character.

For this reason, it is worth considering the symptoms of various pathological processes accompanied by back pain, separately.


If the back hurts in the spine, the most likely diagnosis will be osteochondrosis, since this disease is more common than others. It is also important to understand that doctors distinguish three types of osteochondrosis: cervical, thoracic and lumbar.

In each of these cases, the pain between the vertebrae is tied to different parts of the spinal column. The disease itself implies the destruction of cartilaginous tissue in the intervertebral discs, while the pathological process also occurs in the vertebrae, because due to the reduction of the gap between them, they are erased.

The main symptom of the disease is pain, but clinical signs from the nervous system may also be present, since the spinal cord is most likely affected, its roots are infringed.


myositis as a cause of back pain

A rare disease characterized by an inflammatory process in the muscle tissues of the body, including the back. More often, myositis is accompanied by aching pains, but sharp pain or the so-called backache is also possible.

Pain syndrome is localized directly in the place where the muscle tissue is inflamed, but pain can radiate to nearby areas.


If the spine hurts, spondylosis may be one of the likely causes. This pathology is characterized by the growth of bone tissue of the vertebrae, as well as their dystrophic changes. In this case, painful sensations appear during physical exertion due to a long stay in one position, for example, during sedentary work.


The term denotes a pinching of the sciatic nerve with its further inflammation. The pathological process is accompanied by cutting, stabbing, sharp pains. With sciatica, pains are not felt constantly, they arise suddenly, roll in waves.

Severely aching with sciatica directly in the place where the infringement or inflammation occurred. However, due to the fact that the sciatic nerve has a very long length, painful sensations are present in different areas, most often the legs hurt.


The disease develops due to calcium deficiency in the body. As a result, bone tissues along the entire spinal column lose their elasticity and rigidity, microtrauma and cracks are formed everywhere.

In this pathological process, the entire spine hurts, especially in the later stages of the disease.

Herniated disc

Acute and severe pain in the spine may be evidence of a herniated disc. In this case, the pain syndrome is constant, but intensifies with physical exertion, bending, coughing, sudden or careless movements.

In most cases, a hernia is formed in the lumbar spine, which is explained by the vulnerability of this area to excessively heavy loads, heavy lifting. A hernia often occurs as a complication of osteochondrosis, which is due to the peculiarities of the course of this pathology.

In this case, a hernia is dangerous not only with pain, there is a risk of pinching the nerve branches of the spinal cord and the development of neurological symptoms.

Excessive spine mobility

This problem is otherwise called vertebral hypermobility or spinal instability. A clear sign of pathology is painful sensations that intensify with intense physical exertion and lifting weights. Painful sensations in the back are of a fickle nature, they either subside, then suddenly reappear.

The most severely affected is the cervical spine, if the disease progresses, it becomes difficult for a person to hold his head.


scoliosis as a cause of back pain

Oddly enough, the curvature of the spine is a direct cause of pain. One of the most common problems is scoliosis. Pain in scoliosis is more muscular in nature. This is due to increased stress on certain muscles in the back, while others are relaxed.

In scoliosis, due to the curvature of the spinal column, individual vertebral discs are compressed and the cartilaginous tissue is deformed.

Painful sensations with scoliosis are constant, aching or pulling, their intensity is low, in rare cases the pain is strong and sharp.

Spine Injury

Of course, any mechanical damage, even minor ones, is painful. In this case, the pain is the stronger, the more severe the damage, and sometimes even with a seemingly insignificant injury, acute pain is felt, which can indicate severe internal injuries. In this case, blows, bruises, sprains, dislocations are taken into account, but fractures are the most severe type of injury.

It is noteworthy that old, long-healed injuries make themselves felt decades later. So back and neck pain can remind you of how you fell on ice as a child.

Bechterew's disease

This dangerous disease is also called ankylosing spondyloarthritis. Pathology is characterized by a chronic inflammatory process in the joints, in other words, inflammation of the spine.

Ankylosing spondylitis is accompanied by severe pain, and the intensity of the pain syndrome is high from the very beginning of the pathological process and only intensifies in the future. In this case, the pain intensifies after rest and depending on the change in the weather, but they are well controlled by drugs of the NSAID group and physiotherapy.

Oncological diseases

Cancer is the most dangerous pathology, a clear sign of which is pain. In this case, the pain syndrome appears both in benign and malignant neoplasms, if they are localized not far from the spinal column and put pressure on it.

Metastases are an even more dangerous manifestation of oncology. In this case, the pains are constant and strong, they pursue a person always and everywhere, regardless of the position of the body or any actions. The back hurts equally badly even when lying down.

Kidney disease

how to distinguish back pain from kidney pain

The causes of lower back pain are not always related to back problems. Due to the anatomical location of the kidneys, pathologies affecting them also respond to severe pain in the lumbar region.

Pains can be dull and pulling or sharp stabbing, their intensity varies depending on the disease and the degree of its progression.

Here it is important to understand that painful sensations can be on both sides or only on one side, which indicates which kidney is involved in the pathological process.

Cardiovascular pathology

The opinion that in diseases of the cardiovascular system, pain occurs exclusively in the chest region is erroneous. For example, with ischemic heart disease and myocardial infarction, painful sensations girdle, radiating to the back in the thoracic region. They are characterized as sharp, stabbing, and occur abruptly.

Pathologies of the cardiovascular system include aneurysms of the aortic sections, in which a sharp sharp pain occurs near the spinal column in the thoracic region.

Digestive tract pathology

Diseases of the digestive tract also often provoke back pain, however, in such cases there are always a number of distinctive clinical signs. In addition to pain, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or diarrhea, and general malaise are present.


Among the infectious diseases accompanied by back pain, the most severe and dangerous is tuberculosis of the bones. The disease is accompanied by severe pathological processes in the tissues of the bones, the entire spinal column hurts. Pains are different in nature, sometimes pulling, sometimes stabbing, but always constant.

Respiratory diseases

The lungs occupy most of the thoracic region of the body, so pulmonary pathologies are often accompanied by back pain. Among such ailments are pneumonia, pulmonary tuberculosis, pleurisy, and so on.

With such pathologies, pain intensifies during coughing, sneezing, deep breaths, yawns. In addition, the clinical picture is enriched by cough, shortness of breath, and other similar symptoms.

Congenital pathologies

The factor of congenital anomalies is extremely rare, but still occurs. In this case, the main suspicions fall on the congenital excess or insufficient number of vertebrae in the spinal column. This affects the muscles and ligaments, the structure of the body, threatens protrusion of the spine or compression, which is invariably accompanied by pain.

Pregnancy and childbirth

back pain during pregnancy

Pregnancy is also one of the causes of painful back symptoms.

Pain in the spine and other problems of a similar nature appear more often by the third trimester, which depends entirely on the growth of the fetus and the increased load on the spine.

In such cases, the pain is usually dull, pulling, they subside or temporarily disappear after a short rest when the expectant mother lies down.

Inflammatory processes

A lot of different inflammatory processes lead to the development of pain syndrome, some of them we have already discussed. Take spondyloarthritis (ankylosing spondylitis). This pathology begins in the lumbosacral region, then inflammation, and with it aching back pain, rises up the spinal column.

Pain radiating to the spine

As mentioned at the very beginning, there is a class of pain that is called radiating. This means that back pain "gives off" to the spine from other parts or organs in which the disease has flared up. Let's talk about such pains in more detail.

Pathologies of the heart and great vessels

The most probable diseases of the cardiovascular system, accompanied by pain in the back, were mentioned earlier. It is only important to understand that in addition to pain, such pathologies are accompanied by violations of blood pressure, arrhythmia and pallor of the skin, this is their distinguishing feature.

Diseases of the gallbladder

The clearest example of such a pathological process is cholecystitis, which leads to irradiation of pain in the right shoulder blade and the central part of the spine in the thoracic region.

The acute form of the disease is accompanied by severe cuts, while the chronic one is more difficult to diagnose, since the pains are intermittent and of low intensity.

Pancreatic lesions

The most common disease of the pancreas is pancreatitis. The clinical sign of such a condition is pain in the abdomen, but they are also encircling, characterized as sharp, stabbing. However, in addition to pain, the patient suffers from nausea, vomiting, and painful sensations appear after eating fatty, sweet, fried foods.

Pathologies of the kidneys and upper urinary tract

Diseases of the kidneys and urinary tract are also accompanied by pain, and it is usually intense. Severe pain occurs during urolithiasis, but they are felt not only in the lumbar region. There is severe discomfort in the lower abdomen and groin area.


diagnosis of back pain

As can be seen from the huge list of possible problems and probable diseases, in order to eliminate pain in the back and in the spine, it is necessary to identify the main root cause of its occurrence.

To do this, you must definitely consult a doctor and carry out a full-fledged differential diagnosis, which includes:

  • Radiographyis ​​a simple but quite effective way to determine the state of the spine, it allows detecting deformities and various pathologies.
  • CT- computed tomography more accurately reveals the pathology of the intervertebral discs and vertebrae.
  • MRI- magnetic resonance imaging is an even more advanced and most effective diagnostic method that will show not only probable problems in the structure of the vertebrae and intervertebral discs, but also make it possible to identify or exclude the involvement of nerves in the pathological process, spinalbrain.

If the above surveys have not yielded any results, please contact specialists of a narrow profile in other fields. Perhaps the problem lies in diseases of the heart, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, pelvic organs, and so on.

How to treat back pain

Treatment of acute back pain requires a comprehensive and systematic approach. The methods of struggle become clear after a full examination and an accurate diagnosis. It is also important to understand that in case of problems of this nature, it is imperative to contact a specialist, self-medication is by no means unacceptable.

The attending physician will determine the treatment regimen, which is likely to include drug therapy, physiotherapy, exercise therapy and a course of massages.


physical therapy to treat back pain

It is one of the main methods of dealing with pathologies involving the spine.

Treatment of back pain involves the following procedures:

  • Electrophoresis.
  • Exposure to ultrasound.
  • Laser therapy;
  • Magnetotherapy.

Treatment is carried out in a course of 7-10 procedures or more, the intervals between procedures are 3-5 days.


Physiotherapy and gymnastics are also included in the treatment of pain syndrome, however, these techniques are used mainly for recovery when there is no more severe pain. Gymnastics is needed to restore muscle elasticity, mobility, keep them in good shape, and accelerate recovery from back injuries.

It is important to conduct the first sessions with a physiotherapist, who will adjust the methodology and distribute the load, teach you how to do it correctly. In the future, classes are performed at home, and most importantly, the requirements are a systematic approach.

Drug therapy

Drug therapy is the core of all treatment. Each drug is prescribed by a doctor based on the diagnostic data obtained. The technique depends on the intensity of the pain syndrome, the stage of disease progression.

The following drugs are needed for back pain:

  • NSAIDs(non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) - are prescribed in the form of ointments, tablets, injections, sometimes in the form of suppositories. NSAIDs have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, and reduce local temperature.
  • Analgesicsare pain relievers that block the nerve centers responsible for recognizing pain.
  • Muscle relaxantsare administered when muscle spasm needs to be eliminated.
  • medicines to treat back pain
  • Vitamin complexes,including B vitamins. Their effect contributes to the restoration of nerve fibers and the establishment of metabolic processes.

The duration of drug therapy, the frequency of use of drugs and dosages are determined by the doctor.


Massage course is another effective method to get rid of pain. Appointed when the painful sensations subside, it is carried out exclusively by a narrow specialist.

Massage therapy can stimulate blood circulation, relieve pain, restore nose and muscle elasticity, and so on. To achieve a tangible effect, a course of massages is required, consisting of at least 10 sessions.


To minimize the risk of developing pathologies in which you feel pain in the spine or reduce the risk of recurrence of diseases, you need to follow simple preventive recommendations:

  • Eliminate bad habits.
  • Eat right, eat less junk food, switch to a fractional food system.
  • Lead an active lifestyle, play sports, preferably swimming or some form of gymnastics.
  • It is useful for the back to hang on a horizontal bar at least 3-4 times a week.
  • When seated, take breaks to warm up.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity and injury.
  • If it is impossible to avoid lifting weights, do everything correctly, lift heavy things with a straight back.
  • Sleep on a moderately hard bed, buy an orthopedic mattress.

Remember, if the pain persists for more than 4-5 days, or if the pain is so intense that it is difficult to tolerate it, see your doctor immediately. Timely started treatment allows you to save health and avoid a lot of dangerous complications.