Why does my back hurt?

Man with back pain

Everyone has experienced back pain. For some people it is cyclical pain, for others it is constant. To get rid of the discomfort, many people take painkillers and do not pay attention to the real cause of the discomfort. This can lead to serious complications and illnesses.

Back pain can be caused by diseases of internal organs or the spine, as well as trauma. Sometimes discomfort is the result of poor posture, physical stress, or sudden movements.

You should first find out why your back hurts, and only then start treatment.

Types of back pain

The diagnosis can be assumed based on the nature of the pain in the back.

For example, if the pain is aggravated by heavy lifting, overexertion, hypothermia, or prolonged immobility, it may be due to myositis, low back pain, or a herniated disc.

Acute pain that radiates to the leg or arm may signal pulpitis, disc herniation, or osteonecrosis. The discomfort is worse when walking, bending over or coughing, and feeling weak in the limbs.

All the same herniated discs, low back pain and osteonecrosis, as well as spondylolisthesis, can also cause pulsating pain. This is confirmed when the pain is not relieved even with pain medication.

If flare-up or dramatic pain occurs in the chest area, this is a sign of a pulmonary embolism or a heart attack. Discomfort in the spine speaks of degenerative spondylosis, and in the lumbar region - due to intestinal obstruction. Atherosclerosis can be the cause of neck pain.

Back pain after sleeping

In the morning, your back can hurt, not just from lying on the wrong mattress or sleeping in the wrong position. Hypothermia, stress, or heavy lifting the day before can cause stiffness and pain below the shoulder blades, in the lower back, right or left side.

The reasons can be different: scoliosis, osteonecrosis, herniated disc or obesity. Also, your back may be sore in the morning during pregnancy.

Diseases of the spine and joints

Discomfort in the spine can be associated with diseases of the musculoskeletal system:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis. Due to muscle spasticity, the patient has to lean forward to relieve discomfort. Then, the inflamed vertebrae stiffen and grow together making the spine less flexible.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. The disease begins in the knee, hip, or shoulder, then moves to the cervical spine. In the morning, the patient has a feeling of shooting and stiffness: the affected vertebrae put unnecessary pressure on the nerves.
  • Osteoarthritis and spondylolisthesis. The patient feels discomfort in the lower back: the displaced vertebrae compress the nerve endings.
  • Bone marrow inflammation. Acute myalgia occurs due to an infection in the bony tissue of the spine.
  • Bone tumor. With this disease, the deterioration of the spine becomes worse. The discs between the vertebrae are damaged, and the vertebrae rupture: the nucleus of the disc escapes through the cracks and becomes compressed.
  • Disc herniation. The protrusion between the vertebrae is compressed during movement, so it is reduced.

Diseases related to muscles

The source of discomfort can be spasms and degeneration in the muscle corset that supports the spine:

  • FibromyalgiaWith this disease, the back is painful from the neck to the lower back, and the discomfort is aggravated by pressure in certain places.
  • Musculoskeletal inflammation. The skin around striated and smooth muscle becomes inflamed.
  • Polymyositis. Illness caused by overexertion or hypothermia: pain when turning and feeling weak in the muscles.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. It is very difficult for the patient to get up without someone's help and the asymmetry is evident in the back.
  • Charcot's disease. Peripheral nerves along the spine are inflamed. Sensitivity becomes worse, muscles become weaker, and the patient's gait changes.

Spinal cord disease

Discomfort can occur as a result of any part of the spinal cord being compressed or inflamed.

The source of the pain in this case:

  • compression of spinal membranes due to fracture, hematoma or abscess;
  • inflammation of the adjacent muscles;
  • circulatory disorders;
  • haemorrhage;
  • lack of vitamins;
  • complications of HIV or syphilis;
  • back tumors of various etiologies;
  • multiple sclerosis.


Back pain can also be caused by psychological factors: depression, nervous tension, chronic stress, or sexual dissatisfaction.

Localization of back pain

Discomfort in different points of the back is caused by different factors.

For example, pain on the right side occurs because of scoliosis, scoliosis, scoliosis, or a displaced disc. The left side has pain from splenitis, spinal compression or duodenitis, and the source of the lower back pain can be sciatica, osteochondrosis, or herniated disc.

If it hurts just above the right lower back - it could be myositis, on the left - osteonecrosis.

Discomfort throughout the spine signals protrusion, which can develop into osteonecrosis.

When should you see a doctor as soon as possible?

If the cause of your back pain is stress or strain, it should subside after a few days. However, in cases where the pain only increases, urgent medical attention is needed.

A doctor should be consulted immediately in the following cases:

  • unable to find a location where the pain becomes weaker;
  • have recently had a back injury or contusion;
  • the condition is worse at night;
  • the patient's gait has changed;
  • the patient is in a state of fever;
  • limbs become weak, numb, feel tingling;
  • Painkillers don't help.

Diagnosing back pain

To determine the cause of your back discomfort, you need to make an appointment with a neurologist. If necessary, blood tests should be done to check for infection or inflammation. An examination may also be required, prescribed by a specialist.

Two-sided and three-dimensional ultrasound scans of the blood vessels of the neck and brain are needed to diagnose the cause of headaches, dizziness, or high blood pressure.

MRI allows you to see tumors on the vertebrae, compression of the spinal nerves and spinal cord, herniated discs, narrowing of the spinal canal. CT is needed to detect vertebral fractures.

X-rays help evaluate the condition of bone structures to diagnose fractures, spondylolisthesis, arthritis and poor posture.

Electromyography detects nerve compression due to spinal stenosis or herniated disc.

How to relieve back pain?

First of all, you need to relax. To do this, lie on your stomach on a hard surface, preferably on the floor. After a few minutes, lie on your back and lift your legs so they are at a 90-degree angle. This will reduce the load on the spine.

Anti-inflammatory ointments and creams are also very helpful. When the pain subsides, you need to gently get up and cover the painful area with a towel or towel.

If pain medication isn't available, a cold compress - an ice pack or food from the freezer - will help relieve severe pain. It will not be possible to completely eliminate the discomfort, but he can alleviate the condition. The opposite option in diameter will also be useful - a heating pad or a heating pad.

A light warm-up or a leisurely walk will help get rid of the discomfort.

Back pain treatment

After examination and diagnosis, the doctor prescribes treatment. To ease discomfort, the therapist prescribes pain relievers, B vitamins, and muscle relaxants. Sometimes you should rest in bed and wear a special corset.

An important stage of treatment is physical therapy. These are drug electrophoresis, laser therapy, electrophoresis and magnetic therapy. Electrical stimulation and acupuncture are also helpful.

For back pain, massage therapy, manual therapy, chiropractic, and exercise are all effective. They also help with injury recovery.

Back pain prevention

To avoid back discomfort, you need to move more. Morning exercises and yoga courses, contrast showers, and massages are all effective.

It is important to maintain the health of the liver, which produces collagen and strengthens immunity. Pay attention to your weight, as every 10 pound gain increases the load on the spine.

But first, you need to avoid stress and create an even psychological atmosphere around.