Back Pain

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Back pain is very common and affects people of all ages. It can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain that makes it hard to move. It usually feels like ache, tension or stiffness in the back. Several things can cause it, including a sudden movement or fall, an injury, or a medical condition.

Back pain originates from damage or injury to the vertebral bones, discs, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves of the spine and back. It is divided into neck pain (cervical), middle back pain (thoracic), lower back pain (lumbar), coccydynia (tailbone or sacral pain).

The most common cause of back pain are:

  • Strain: strained muscles, strained ligaments, a muscle spasm
  • Structural problems: ruptured disks, bulging disks, sciatica, arthritis, abnormal curvature of spine, osteoporosis
  • Cauda equina syndrome
  • Cancer of the spine
  • Infection of the spine
  • Other infections
  • Sleep disorders
  • Shingles
  • Bad mattress
  • Everyday activities or poor posture

Signs and symptoms of back pain may include:

  • Muscle ache
  • Shooting or stabbing pain
  • Limited flexibility or range of motion of the back
  • Inflammation (swelling) on the back
  • Pain down the legs
  • Numbness around the genitals, anus and buttocks
  • Acute: back pain comes on suddenly and persists for a maximum three months
  • Chronic: the pain gradually develops over a longer period, lasts for over three months, and causes long-terms problem
  • Neuropathic: pain is often described as severe, sharp, lightning-like, stabbing, numbness, tingling or weakness

The pain ca be a mild, dull ache or a sharp, shooting or stabbing pain. In some cases, chronic or severe back pain can lead to complications like:

  • Disability
  • Nerve damage
  • Depression
  • Weight gain

Preventive Measures

    • Exercise
    • Build muscle strength and flexibility
    • Maintain a healthy wait
    • Use proper body mechanics (stand smart, sit smart, lift smart)
    • Calcium and bone density


Cause of back pain will involve a physical examination, including reflex and strength tests like:

  • X-ray of the spine to show alignment of bones and check for breaks
  • MRI or CT scan to assess disks, muscles, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels
  • Blood and urine tests to check for underlying conditions
  • Bone scan to look for abnormalities in the bone tissue
  • Nerve studies (electromyography, or EMG) to test nerve conduction
  • CRP levels
  • Elevated ESR could indicate infection, malignancy, chronic disease, inflammation, trauma, or tissue ischemia
  • Modify daily activities
  • Improve posture
  • Manage weight and eliminate excess pounds
  • Quit smoking
  • Control on stress level
  • Sleep sideways
  • Regular exercise
No test found