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What Causes Back Pain: The Possible Conditions

Medically reviewed by Janie-Vi Villamor Ismael-Gorospe, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Honey Buenaventura · Updated Mar 14, 2022

    What Causes Back Pain: The Possible Conditions

    What causes back pain? Back pain is clearly one of the most frequent reasons people go to see the doctor or even miss work, and it is one of the leading causes of disability in the world.

    Fortunately, you can take the appropriate methods to avert or alleviate most back pain occurrences. If simple prevention does not work, basic home remedies and correct body mechanics quite often can repair and mend your back within a few weeks and keep it in good form. Surgery is rarely needed to cure your back pain nowadays.

    What Causes Back Pain? 

    Back pain can be a result of a previous injury, rigorous activity, or some medical condition. Back pain can affect all individuals of any age, for different reasons.

    As people age, the likelihood of experiencing back pain drastically rises. That is because of several factors like degenerative disk disease and previous occupation.

    Lower back pain may also be linked to the discs between the vertebrae, ligaments in the region of the abdominal, pelvic organs, and spinal cord, and also the skin around the lumbar area and bony lumbar spine.

    The pain you feel in your upper back is probably due to disorders of the aorta, or possibly tumors in the chest, or even spine inflammation.


    Back pain can span from a single muscle hurting to a shooting, enflamed, or stabbing sensation across the entire back. In addition, the pain may spread out down your leg or worsen with flexing, walking, twisting, or just standing  

    When to Check with a Doctor

    Most back pain slowly improves with home remedies and self-care, usually within a few weeks. Should your back pain continue after a few more weeks, contact your doctor.

    What Causes Back Pain: Other Culprits

    Be mindful of any back pain which can develop without a cause so that your doctor can identify it sooner with a test or an imaging study. Conditions that are commonly connected to back pain include:

    Muscle or ligament strain. Continual heavy lifting or an abrupt movement can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments.  

    Bulging or ruptured disks. Your discs act as shock absorbers between the bones in your spine. The soft mass inside a disk can swell or burst and press on a nerve.  

    Arthritis. Osteoarthritis can affect the lower back. In some cases, arthritis in the spine can lead to a tightening of the space around the spinal cord, a medical condition called spinal stenosis.

    Osteoporosis. Your spine’s vertebrae can build up painful fractures if your bones become spongy and fragile.

    Risk Factors

    Anyone actually can contract back pain, even children and teens. These factors might put you at greater risk of developing back pain:

    • Age
    • Lack of exercise
    • Excess weight
    • Diseases
    • Improper lifting
    • Psychological conditions
    • Smoking can also diminish blood flow to the spine and amplify the risk of osteoporosis.


    You might evade back pain or prevent its recurrence by improving your physical condition and addressing some health risks.

    To keep your back healthy and strong remember to do the following:

    Exercise. What causes back pain? Strain on your muscle. Keep your muscles in top form by engaging in low-impact aerobic activities, those that don’t strain or hurt your back. Walking and swimming are good choices. Consult and talk with your doctor about what activities you might be able to do and try.

    Strengthen and flex your muscles. Take on abdominal and back muscle exercises, which will definitely strengthen your core. Condition these muscles so that they work together like a natural protection for your back.

    Sustain a healthy weight. What causes back pain? The additional pressure caused by added weight. Being overweight strains back muscles. If you’re a bit overweight, trimming down can actually prevent back pain.

    Stop smoking. Smoking amplifies your risk of low back pain. The risk multiplies with the number of cigarettes smoked per day, so quitting should help reduce this risk.


    Having adequate painkillers with doctors’ prescription, staying active and doing exercises are usually the most useful treatments for individuals with back pain. However, some individuals may need further medical care.

    Remember, only take the medication prescribed by your doctor to avoid any severe side effects.

    After considering what causes back pain, make the necessary adjustments to your lifestyle and consult your doctor.

    Learn more about other Symptoms here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Janie-Vi Villamor Ismael-Gorospe, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Honey Buenaventura · Updated Mar 14, 2022

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