Skip to Content

What Are the Common Causes of Back Pain?

Are you experiencing back pain? Are you wondering what caused it?

Back pain can make everyday tasks seem overwhelming. Simple things like picking up groceries or moving your computer can suddenly become daunting tasks.

Believe it or not, there’s no one simple cause and treatment for back pain. And you may experience ongoing discomfort if your problem isn’t treated properly.

Here are some common causes of back pain.

1. Herniated Discs

A herniated disc occurs when the soft tissue between our discs and joints has come out. If you have a herniated disc in your lower back, you may feel pain in your buttocks and thigh. If it’s in your neck, you may experience shoulder and arm pain.

Other symptoms include muscle weakness, numbness, or tingling. You may notice that the pain gets worse at night or after you sit or stand in certain ways.

Discs can slip out of place when you twist or turn to lift a heavy object. You may get one if you’re overweight or older.

Slipped discs are often treated with therapy. An exercise program will get prescribed that can strengthen your back and lessen your pain. It also helps to avoid painful positions or use over-the-counter pain relievers.

Many slipped-disc sufferers also treat their problem with heat and ice. Some also find that losing weight helps relieve the problem.

2. Pinched Nerves

A pinched nerve, or cervical radiculopathy, can get caused by a bone spur or herniated discs. It can disrupt your nerve’s function and cause numbness, tingling, or pain.

Signs of a pinched nerve include a sharp, aching, or burning pain. You may also experience muscle weakness or sciatica, which is pain that radiates through your hips, buttocks, and lower back. Your doctor can diagnose it with things like X-Rays, MRIs, or CT scans.

Pinched nerves can often get treated with physical therapy, over-the-counter pain relievers, and lifestyle adjustments. Many sufferers also find relief with frequent rest and ice and heat.

3. Bulging Discs

Sometimes, a damaged disc can bulge, pushing backward into your spinal canal. It can bulge to one side, causing pain or tingling on one side of the body. They can get diagnosed through CAT scans, X-Rays, and EMGs.

Often, rest and conservative treatments like over-the-counter pain relievers are prescribed to help treat bulging discs. Your doctor may also suggest you get some physical therapy to help relieve pressure on the nerve. Cortisone injections can also be recommended to encourage long-term relief.

4. Muscle Strains

Sometimes, muscle strains can occur due to physical activities like heavy lifting. You may notice that you have lower back pain that radiates into your buttocks but not your legs. It also may be difficult for you to maintain a normal posture due to stiffness or pain.

With a muscle strain, your pain will intensify with movement, and you’ll get relief when you sit. You’ll be more at risk for muscle strains if you’re overweight or out-of-shape. They’re also more likely to occur if you have poor posture when sitting.

Ice packs and heating pads can help relieve the pain caused by strained back muscles. Many ice or heat creams you can purchase over the counter can also help.

Massages can also bring relief to those suffering from muscle strains. Let your therapist know where your pain is, and they should be able to give you some relief. More information can be found on

5. Arthritis

Osteoarthritis can affect your joints, which are also found on the back part of your vertebrae along your spine. Wearing cartilage can cause stiffness and pain in your back.

Risks for osteoarthritis include age, obesity, and other physical conditions such as diabetes or psoriasis. Symptoms include pain, tenderness, and swelling over the vertebrae.

Lifestyle changes are known to help spinal arthritis. These may include losing weight or quitting smoking. Changing your posture can also improve symptoms.

Physical therapy and over-the-counter medications can relieve pain. In some cases, anti-inflammatory drugs or injections are also used to decrease swelling.

6. Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease can happen as you get older. The discs that act as shock absorbers between your spine’s vertebrae can begin to tear and shrink.

Symptoms of degenerative disc disease include pain that comes and goes but feels worse when you’re sitting. You may also notice pain when you twist, bend, or lift things.

Besides X-Rays or MRIs, your doctor may ask about your medical history in order to diagnose your problem. They may ask about when the pain started or if you’ve had other spine injuries. Your doctor will also ask if you have a family history of spinal problems.

Degenerative disc disease can get treated with physical therapy, medications, or steroid shots. If other treatments don’t work, your doctor may recommend surgery. This can remove the injured part of your disc and take the pressure off of your nerves.

7. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can also cause fractures in your spine. The collapsed vertebrae can pinch nerves that radiate out from your spinal cord making the condition very painful. In some cases, it may even be debilitating.

Heat, ice, and physical therapy can also help to treat osteoporosis back pain. Acupuncture and over-the-counter pain relievers can also help. In some cases, braces and supports are also recommended.

Common Causes of Back Pain

If your back is causing some pain and discomfort, there are a number of ways you can treat it. The causes of back pain or varied and your doctor can help you diagnose yours. With the right care and treatment, you can be back on your feet in no time.

Don’t stop getting smart about your lifestyle now. For more great advice, read our blog today.