Why Does My Back Hurt? What are the causes?
Back pain that comes on suddenly and lasts no more than three weeks (acute) can be caused by a fall or heavy lifting.
Back pain that lasts more than three weeks is now becoming a chronic issue. This is a more serious problem.
Conditions commonly linked to back pain include:
Muscle or ligament strain
Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. If you're in poor physical condition, constant strain on your back can cause painful muscle spasms. This problem usually resolves with rest, ice and heat, and some light strengthening exercises.
Bulging or ruptured/herniated disks
Disks act as cushions between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine. The soft material inside a disk can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve. That pressure causes inflammation and can give you extreme pain and discomfort that can radiate down the path of the nerve. This condition usually does not resolve on its own, and can become chronic and even debilitating.
Osteoarthritis can affect the lower back. In some cases, arthritis in the spine can lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, a condition called spinal stenosis. This can numbness, tingling, muscle spasms, aches and pains.
A condition in which your spine curves to the side (scoliosis) also can lead to back pain, but generally not until middle age.
Your spine's vertebrae can develop compression fractures if your bones become porous and brittle.
Signs and symptoms of back pain can include:
- Muscle aches
- Shooting or stabbing pain
- Pain that radiates down your leg
- Pain that worsens with bending, lifting, standing or walking