Back Pain : Symptoms, Prevention, Causes And Treatment


Back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work or need medical care. Back pain is the most typical cause of incapacity worldwide.

Fortunately, most cases of back pain can be prevented or treated, especially for people under the age of 60. If prevention fails, the back can be swiftly repaired with simple self-care and regular, appropriate use of the body. Surgery is not usually required to alleviate back pain.


During exams or imaging procedures, back discomfort frequently appears out of the blue. The following causes are frequently related to back pain:

  • The strain on a muscle or ligament. Frequent heavy lifting or an abrupt uncomfortable movement can strain the back muscles and spinal ligaments. Constant tension on the back might result in uncomfortable muscle spasms in persons who are not in good physical shape.
  • Burst or bulging discs. Discs act as insulators between the bones of the spine. A disc's fragile interior might enlarge or burst, putting pressure on a nerve. However, a ruptured or bulging disc may not necessarily be the source of back pain. Disc disease is commonly detected in spine X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs undertaken for another reason.
  • Arthritis. Osteoarthritis has as a side effect lower back pain. Occasionally, arthritis spinal stenosis is a condition in which there is a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord in the spine.
  • Osteoporosis. If the bones become porous and brittle, the vertebrae in the spine may suffer excruciating breakages.

How to check if you have back pain? 

The majority of back pain gradually improves over the course of a few weeks with home treatment and self-care. Should you experience any of the following symptoms of back pain:

  • Back pain that lasts more than a few weeks
  • It does not get better with rest
  • The pain extends past the knee and spreads down one or both legs.
  • It causes one or both legs to become weak, numb, or tingly

Back discomfort occasionally indicates a significant medical condition. When you have back discomfort that:

  • This leads to fresh bowel or bladder issues
  • Accompanies a high fever
  • Happens after a fall, back injury, or other trauma

Risk Factors

Back pain can affect everyone, even children and teenagers. These elements may raise the possibility of experiencing back pain:

Age. Beginning about age 30 or 40, back discomfort becomes more often as we get older. 

Lack of Exercise. Back discomfort may be caused by weak, underused muscles in the back and abdomen.

Excessive weight. Body weight that is too strainful for the back.

Diseases. Certain malignancies and types of arthritis can make back discomfort worse.

Incorrect lifting. By utilising the back instead of the legs, back discomfort may develop.

Psychological disorders. Back discomfort seems to be more common among people who are prone to despair and anxiety. Stress-induced muscular tension may cause back pain.

Smoking. Back pain in smokers is more common. This could happen due to the fact that smoking causes coughing, which can result in disc herniation. Smoking also lowers blood flow to the spine and increases the risk of osteoporosis.


The muscles in the back may hurt in a shooting, burning, or stabbing manner. The discomfort might also radiate down a leg. It might get worse with bending, twisting, lifting, standing, or walking.


Back discomfort may be avoided by maintaining good physical health and practising good back movements.

To maintain a strong and healthy back:

Exercise. Regular low-impact aerobic exercises, or those that do not strain or shock the back, can improve back strength and endurance and muscular function. The best options include swimming, biking, and walking. Inquire with your doctor about the best activities to attempt.

Build flexibility and strength in your muscles. Exercises for the back and abdomen assist condition these muscles so they cooperate to support the back. These exercises also help to strengthen the core.

Keep a healthy weight. Back muscles are strained by being overweight.

Give up smoking. If you smoke, you are more likely to have back discomfort. As you smoke more cigarettes, the danger increases.

Steer clear of postures that twist or strain your back. To appropriately use the body:

Stand wisely. Avoid slouching. Keep your pelvis in a neutral position. To lessen the strain on the lower back when standing for extended periods of time, put one foot on a low footstool. Swap the feet. With proper posture, the strain on the back muscles can be reduced.

Smart seating. Select a seat with armrests, a swivel base, and decent lower back support. A cushion or towel wrapped up can be placed in the small of the back to retain the natural bend. Keep your hips and knees level. Frequently, at least once every half an hour, switch positions.

Smart lifting. If at all possible, avoid heavy lifting. Let your legs down if you need to lift something heavy. Do not twist your back; instead, keep it straight and only bend at the knees. Hold the weight against your body. If the object is uncomfortable or heavy, find a buddy to help you lift it.


For most people with back pain, especially those under 60, home treatment works best. For many, the discomfort can last for several months.

It might only be necessary to utilise heat and painkillers. It is not advised to stay in bed.

With back pain, keep up your activities as much as you can. Try a quick workout like walking. Avoid activity out of fear of pain, but stop the activity that makes the pain worse. After a few weeks of trying, home remedies may not be effective, so your doctor may advise stronger medications or other treatments.


Depending on the type of back pain, medications are prescribed. They could consist of:

  • Drugs that reduce pain. NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), may be of assistance. Only use these medications as prescribed. Serious side effects might result from overuse. 
  • Muscle relaxants. A muscle relaxant could be helpful if mild to moderate back pain does not get better after taking painkillers. Muscle relaxants can cause drowsiness and dizziness.
  • Topical analgesics. These items provide painkillers through the skin, including creams, salves, ointments, and patches.
  • Narcotics. Opioid-containing medications, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, may be administered under medical supervision for a brief period of time.
  • Antidepressants. Chronic back pain has been demonstrated to be reduced by many antidepressants kinds, particularly duloxetine and tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline.

Physical Therapy 

A physical therapist can demonstrate exercises to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles, increase flexibility, and correct posture. Regular use of these techniques can help stop discomfort from returning. Physical therapists will also instruct patients on how to adapt their activities when experiencing a backache episode to prevent pain flare-ups and keep up their activity levels.

Surgical and other Procedures

The following procedures could be used to alleviate back pain:

Cortisone. An injection of cortisone and a numbing agent into the region around the spinal cord and nerve roots may be helpful if previous treatments are ineffective at relieving pain that travels down the leg. The inflammation surrounding the nerve roots is reduced with a cortisone injection, but the pain alleviation typically only lasts for a month or two.

Ablation with radiofrequency. A small needle is inserted under the skin near the sore area during this procedure. To harm the adjacent nerves, radio waves are sent through the needle. Damage to the nerves prevents the brain from receiving pain signals.

Nerve stimulators that are implanted. Certain nerves can receive electrical impulses from implants placed under the skin that suppress pain signals.

Surgery. Sometimes people with developing muscular weakness or leg pain from their back can benefit from surgery to increase space in the spine. Herniated discs or other diseases that cause the holes in the spine to close down may be the cause of these issues.

Complications of Back Pain 

Please access immediate medical assistance if you experience any of the following:

You experience back aches and

  • Numbness, weakness, or discomfort in both legs
  • Tingling or numbness in the buttocks or genitalia
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control (peeing or pooping yourself)
  • A chest ache
  • It began following a serious incident, such as a car crash


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Page last reviewed: Mar 13, 2023

Next review due: Mar 13, 2025

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