Back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. It can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain.
Sometimes it can come on suddenly – from an accident, a fall, or lifting something heavy, or it can develop slowly because of age-related degenerative changes to the spine.
In some cases, inflammatory disorders or other medical conditions cause back pain.
Treatment varies depending on the cause and symptoms; however, there are steps you can take to improve your health and lower your chance of developing chronic or long-lasting back pain.
Back pain can be caused by many different things, including mechanical or structural problems with the spine, inflammatory conditions, and other medical conditions.
Back pain can happen when mechanical or structural problems develop in the spine, discs, muscles, ligaments, or tendons in the back.
Sprain: an injury to the ligaments that support the spine, often occurring from twisting or lifting improperly.
Strain: an injury to a muscle or tendon.
Degenerative disc disease: aging causes the discs between the vertebrae of the spine to break down.
Herniated or ruptured discs: the discs compress and irritate nearby nerves. This often occurs at the lumbar level.
Spondylolisthesis: a vertebra in the spine slips out of place.
Spinal stenosis: a narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
Scoliosis or other congenital changes to the spine.
Ankylosing spondylitis, a specific type of arthritis of the spine.
Other types of inflammatory arthritis of the spine.
Other Medical Conditions
Osteoporosis, which can lead to painful fractures of the vertebrae.
Fibromyalgia, a condition of widespread muscle pain and fatigue.
Kidney stones or infections.
Endometriosis, which is the buildup of uterine tissue in places outside the uterus.
Infections that involve the bones of the spine or the discs between these bones, which can cause pain.
Tumors, in rare cases, that develop on the spine or other areas of the back.
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