Back Pain Conditions Spelled Out


Before checking specific back pain conditions, it’s essential to know that back pain is actually a symptom associated with specific medical problems, and not a stand-alone condition. Some medical issues that may cause back pain include:

•Osteoarthritis: Caused by obesity, previous injuries or aging joints, this form of arthritis triggers joint pain and stiffness. It affects different joints, including hip, knee, wrist, neck and back.

•Rheumatoid Arthritis: Occurring in joints on both sides of the body, rheumatoid arthritis defines a chronic condition causing inflammation, pain, swelling, warmth and redness. In some cases, it can also cause back pain.

•Ankylosing Spondylitis: Also known as Marie-Strümpel disease and Bechterew’s syndrome, this condition affects spine, pelvis and peripheral joints.

•Spinal Stenosis: One of the most dangerous back pain conditions, spinal stenosis triggers abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal, inducing a neurological deficit. Besides back pain, this condition may generate numbness and loss of motor control.

•Scoliosis: Congenital, neuromuscular, degenerative or idiopathic scoliosis triggers lateral curvature in straight vertical spines, leading to back pain after mid-life.

•Spondylolisthesis: This condition refers to the posterior or anterior displacement of a vertebra in relation to the vertebra located below or above it. Similar to the aforementioned back pain conditions, spondylolisthesis generates back pain.

•Osteoporosis: Although osteoporosis is not a painful condition, it reduces the mineral density of bones, possibly causing painful fractures of vertebras.

•Kidney Stones: The most common symptom associated with kidney stones is severe pain radiating toward the lower back and legs.

•Endometriosis: Caused by the development of uterine-lining tissue outside the uterus, this condition only affects women. Besides heavy periods, abdominal pain and infertility, endometriosis also triggers severe lower back pain.

•Fibromyalgia: Unlike the back pain conditions that affect bones and joints, fibromyalgia modifies soft tissue. Symptoms include chronic pain in muscles, painful tender points and fatigue.

•Pregnancy: Pregnant women also suffer from back pain. In this situation, back pain is caused by weight gain, posture changes, hormone changes, muscle separation and even emotional stress.

•Infections and Tumors: Infections and tumors can result in back pain only when they involve vertebras or the discs that cushion vertebras.

•Spine Injuries: Sprains and fractures can generate short-lived or chronic back pain. While osteoporosis, car accidents and falls are the main factors that cause fractures, ligaments that support the spine can trigger sprains.

•Mechanical Problems: These problems usually relate to the way the spine moves. Typical problems include intervertebral disc degeneration, a condition that affects elderly people, herniated discs, muscle tension and spasms.

Regardless of underlying back pain conditions, surgery is a last-resort solution. Furthermore, since surgery often fails to relieve pain back, most physicians recommend nonsurgical treatments, such as physical therapy, gentle massage, heat, ice and anti-inflammatory medication. However, back surgery might be needed if you have vertebral fractures, herniated disks, or a condition that compresses your spinal nerves, such as scoliosis, spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis.