Back pain: causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention

Back pain

According to statistics, 80% of people know about back pain first hand. More than a third of all issued "hospital" are related to this problem. The reason can be considered the weakness of the fragile muscles and their rapid growth. To identify the problem in addition to visual inspection, hardware diagnostics (X-ray, myography, CTetc. ), laboratory blood tests are performed and treatment is prescribed only after the diagnosis.

Why does my back hurt?

Spinal pain can occur immediately after injuries, pathologies of the vertebrae, ligaments and discs, soft tissue damage. It depends on the position of the body, the level of physical activity, but can also affect, for example, diseases of the internal organs. To some extent, the back itself is vulnerable due to its structure.

It is based on the spine, which provides supporting, protective, motor and shock absorbers. This is due to the cartilage of the intervertebral discs, muscles and ligaments, which tend to wear over time in the wrong lifestyle and cause degenerative diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

Inside the spinal cord is the spinal cord, its paired roots innervate almost all organs and tissues. Any disturbance in this complex system can cause pain. The neck and lumbar region suffer more often than others due to their greatest loads and mobility.

What to do with back pain?

A doctor's examination is mandatory to determine the cause, especially if the pain has become more frequent. Only a specialist can make the correct diagnosis and prescribe treatment. You cannot engage in self-diagnosis.

First, you can contact a therapist who will identify a set of symptoms and refer you to the right specialist with a narrow profile. If the cause is known and obvious, the prescribed therapy can be continued. Back problems are treated by neurologists, orthopedists and vertebrologists.

Causes of back pain

Back pain is a non-specific symptom that can have various causes.

Physiological (common) causes:

  • increased weight;
  • recent birth or pregnancy;
  • hypodynamic work - in the office, on the computer, driving a car;
  • permanent job - hairdressers, waiters and salespeople, street advertisers, surgeons, teachers;
  • heavy physical activity in combination with sharp turns of the body;
  • overload during training;
  • postmenopausal with a tendency to osteoporosis.

Pathological causes:

  • diseases of the spine (osteochondrosis, spondylosis, ankylosing spondylitis, tumors, arthritis, osteomyelitis, Reiter's syndrome) and spinal cord;
  • increasing pain - scoliosis and kyphosis;
  • infectious lesions of the spine;
  • osteoporosis, osteomalacia;
  • diseases of the internal organs - kidneys, pancreas, stomach, spleen, liver;
  • atherosclerosis of the abdominal aorta.

Acute pain can occur with disc protrusion, spondyloarthritis, spinal cord epiduritis, osteochondrosis, intervertebral hernias, atypical appendicitis and intestinal obstruction, kidney stones, fractures and sprains, strokes and spinal cord injuries, men and women. .

Varieties of diseases by the nature of back pain

Causes of painful pain:

  • hypothermia;
  • Scream;
  • myositis;
  • prolonged awkward posture during sleep or work;
  • lumbago (birth causes);
  • osteochondrosis;
  • intervertebral hernia or displacement of the intervertebral discs due to sudden lifting of weights or a sharp bend in the body;
  • kidney disease - cause back pain due to the proximity of the kidneys to the waist;
  • stomach diseases.

Causes of shooting pains:

  • intervertebral hernia - their condition worsens with each exercise;
  • sciatica - such back pain often occurs on one side, radiates to the thigh or buttocks, causes numbness in the legs and also depends on physical exertion;
  • osteochondrosis - the patient may experience pulling pains that radiate to the legs and worsen when coughing, sneezing, straining, walking, stooping.

Etiology of throbbing pain:

  • osteochondrosis;
  • intervertebral hernia;
  • lumbago;
  • spondylosis - are acute and can not be relieved with analgesics.

Spraying back pain:

  • ischemia;
  • heart attack;
  • inflammation of the gallbladder;
  • a sharp rise in pressure;
  • atherosclerosis.

Why does my back hurt after sleep?

Most people often experience back pain in the morning after sleep, which may be due to:

  • overload the day before if you were lifting weights and moving abruptly;
  • weak back muscles;
  • hypothermia;
  • vertebral hernia or osteochondrosis;
  • scoliosis - curvature of the spine leads to uneven muscle contraction;
  • pregnancy - with it the center of the body shifts;
  • obesity - the load on the spine is also uneven.

Sleep conditions are also important. The bed should not be too hard or soft - in any case, a person is forced to take an uncomfortable, unphysiological position during sleep, which causes the muscles to strain and not rest at night. Posture is so important that even an orthopedic mattress does not help. It is advisable to sleep on your back with your legs raised.

Also, the causes of pain after sleep can be diseases of the spine and internal organs (urological, gastrointestinal tract, including cancer).

Diseases related to the joints and spine

All pathologies in which back pain occurs have a common basis - the uneven load on the spine. They include:

  1. Ankylosing spondylitis - persistent inflammation of the ligaments and joints causes chronic spasm of the surrounding muscles. The process is autoimmune, over time the vertebrae begin to grow together, which dramatically disrupts the work of the spine.
  2. Spondylolisthesis - the vertebrae are in an abnormal position. They are displaced and affect the brain or roots.
  3. Osteochondrosis - intervertebral discs become thinner, cracked, replaced by bone tissue. Depreciation becomes impossible.
  4. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune inflammation of the joints. It more often affects the cervical spine.
  5. Osteomyelitis is an inflammation of the bone marrow and surrounding soft tissues. Causes severe pain.
  6. Reiter's disease is a simultaneous rheumatic lesion of the urogenital tract, joints and conjunctiva of the eyes. The small muscles of the back are affected. More often typical of young people, it develops gradually. The pain is severe in the morning and decreases in the evening.
  7. Spinal canal stenosis - the cause may be a herniated disc, protrusion (protrusion in the spinal canal). Most often, the process involves the lowest roots of the spinal cord, which innervate the legs. The pain is felt from the waist to the foot, intensifying both at rest and when walking.
  8. Facet syndrome is a lesion of the intervertebral (facet) joints. The pain may be local or radiate to the groin, coccyx, thigh. Physically dependent. In the evening the condition worsens, after a break it improves. It is more common in the elderly.

Muscle diseases

Muscle tissue is affected secondarily, against the background of pathology of bone tissue or joints. Painful spasms and tightness appear in the muscles, mobility is impaired:

  1. Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome from the neck to the lower back. Neurological symptoms may join: hypersensitivity to certain points on the back, stiffness and stiffness.
  2. Polymyositis - occurs with hypothermia, trauma, sprains or strenuous exercise. Muscle weakness occurs, in which even turning to the side is painful and problematic.
  3. Dermatomyositis is a chronic disease of the muscles, organs, skin, often of an autoimmune nature.
  4. Charcot's disease is an inflammation of the peripheral nerves that run along the spine. This leads to changes in gait, muscle weakness and increased sensitivity of the nerve roots.
  5. Polymyalgia rheumatica is negativism of the environment in the form of hypothermia, overload, uncomfortable posture and more. Leads to spasms of individual muscles and pain. The so-called trigger points appear, when pressed the muscle reacts with sharp pain. Neurologists know this. This type of pain is eliminated with warming ointments and a needle applicator.

Pathologies of the spinal cord

These include a disorder of the spinal cord, which has 31 paired branches, where each nerve is responsible for innervating its place. This condition occurs when:

  • trauma (fracture of the spine);
  • tumors;
  • osteochondrosis or disc herniation;
  • inflammation due to abscess, hematoma;
  • cerebral hemorrhage;
  • myositis;
  • deficiency of minerals and vitamins;
  • complications of HIV or neurosyphilis;
  • sclerosis.

Back pain due to psychosomatics

In recent years, back pain has begun to manifest itself in psychosomatics. In this case, in the case of complaints of back pain, the examination does not reveal the pathology. This condition occurs with chronic stress, depression, lack of libido. The result can be not only pain, but also a change in gait, exacerbation of lumbago and sensory disturbances.

Causes of back pain by location

Pain can occur in a wide variety of back areas. Then they talk about its location.

Pain in the right side

The right side of the back can hurt due to curvature of the spine, kyphosis, lordosis, myositis, displacement of the intervertebral disc, obesity.

Somatic pathologies can also cause pain in this area:

  • the formation of stones in the organs of the urinary system;
  • inflammation of the appendix of the caecum (appendix);
  • inflammation of the gallbladder;
  • jade;
  • inflammation of the ovaries;
  • salpingitis.

Pain in the left side

This area of the back can hurt when:

  • splenite;
  • ICD;
  • pinching the roots;
  • duodenitis;
  • oophoritis.

Pain located above the lower back may be associated with inflammation of the serous membranes covering the lungs, bronchial damage, intercostal neuralgia, ischemia.

Lumbar pain

The lower back suffers very often as there is a huge load. This area becomes inflamed with nerve root damage, osteochondrosis or hernial protrusion. Less commonly, the cause may be tuberculosis of the spine, arthritis, lumbosciatica, decreased density and disruption of bone structure, Reiter's syndrome - a combination of urethritis and prostatitis.

Lumbar pain is usually chronic.

In the lumbar region on the right

Lumbar pain occurs in scoliosis, tuberculosis, myositis, neuralgia, tumors, osteomyelitis, spondylitis. Acute attack can be caused by urolithiasis or pyelonephritis.

Lumbago is characteristic of diseases of the lower back with frequent involvement of the spinal roots in the process (radiculitis). Constant dull and monotonous pain is more characteristic of an organ such as the liver.

In the lumbar region on the left

Most often, the left side begins to hurt after exercise. The condition improves after a break. Also, pain can occur in diabetes, pinching the root. If it does not disappear at rest, the reasons may be:

  • scoliosis;
  • osteochondrosis (with a sedentary lifestyle or improper posture);
  • spinal infections;
  • circulatory disorders.

Pinched nerve

The sciatic nerve is more often pinched. In this case, its myelin sheath is not damaged. This is usually a consequence of osteochondrosis. When pinching, sharp and sharp pain appears, radiating to the legs, sacrum, lower back.

In compression radiculopathy, the roots of the spinal nerves are also compressed due to a herniated disc or a reduction in its height and, as a result, the distance between the vertebral bodies. This pain is felt as "superficial", sharply intensified by coughing, exertion or sneezing.

Intervertebral hernia

Hernia is an extrusion of the core of the intervertebral disc into the spinal canal. More often it is a consequence of untreated osteochondrosis. The central part protrudes to the spinal cord, pressing it. Even a small load in such cases leads to a reduction in the height of the cartilage and even greater protrusion of the hernia. The pain is sharp and sharp, with a return to the arm or leg.

In the area of the shoulder blades

Characteristics of pain may indicate a diagnosis:

  1. Gastric ulcer - growing dull pain. It is eliminated with drugs.
  2. Intercostal neuralgia - the disease is characterized by sharp pain with each physical effort.
  3. Osteochondrosis - dizziness, changes in pressure, numbness of the hands.
  4. Exacerbation of angina pectoris - the pain is localized in the area of the left shoulder blade, radiating to the chest and under the clavicle.

Pain in the spine and back

They most often occur when nerve endings are pinched. Exacerbations are associated with curvature of the spine. If the pain is not pronounced, we can talk about bulge. With increased pain, you may think of osteochondrosis. Spinal pain is typical of myositis, fractures, thinning and wear of the intervertebral discs, spondyloarthritis. They are always sharp and constant.

Causes of lower back pain

Such pain is more commonly associated with osteochondrosis and spondyloarthritis. Less commonly, such sensations may occur when:

  • diseases of the genital area in women (endometritis, adnexitis, vulvitis, cervicitis, oophoritis);
  • pregnancy;
  • menstruation;
  • ulcerative colitis;
  • appendicitis;
  • diseases of the prostate or bladder - in men.

Related symptoms

The manifestations of spinal pain vary depending on the location. With the defeat of the cervical spine, migraine and dizziness, weakness and numbness of the hands, pressure surges, flies and flashes in the eyes will be noted. When the chest is affected, there is a burning sensation and stiffness in the chest, difficulty breathing, pain in the shoulder blades.

Situations requiring emergency medical care

An emergency visit to a doctor requires back pain, which occurs in the following cases:

  • injury;
  • neurological symptoms in the form of tingling and numbness of the extremities;
  • fever is combined with back pain;
  • numbness of the hands and feet, weakness and tingling sensation;
  • gait changed or legs taken away;
  • history of cancer;
  • weight loss for no apparent reason;
  • impaired urination and defecation - a person can not control these processes;
  • back pain radiates to the chest, jaw and neck;
  • the mind is confused and dizzy;
  • genital tingling and weakness, "cotton" in the legs;
  • leg cramps;
  • problems conceiving or getting an erection;
  • problems with the gastrointestinal tract, in which treatment by a gastroenterologist does not help;
  • pain in the coccyx, small pelvis, aggravated by a change in body position;
  • increased pain when sitting for a long time or standing up.

Experts will help you understand the cause of the pain.


To identify the cause of back pain, the neurologist prescribes a comprehensive examination:

  1. Blood tests. They help to identify the presence of infection and inflammation in the form of leukocytosis and increased ESR. Decreased hemoglobin will indicate anemia, which can have many causes, and one of the possible ones is cancer.
  2. NMR. . .Visualizes the condition of all components of the spine. Helps to differentiate the type and nature of the tumor, to determine the distance between the vertebrae and the degree of compression of the root.
  3. CT. Identifies fractures, allows you to find the smallest fragments after injuries. It's all in 3D.
  4. Radiography. The most cost-effective way to diagnose back pain and identify the condition of bone tissue. Prescribed in case of suspicion of fracture, arthritis, scoliosis, osteoporosis, spondyloarthritis.
  5. Electromyography (EMG). Determines the indicators of bioelectrical activity of muscles and peripheral nerve endings.
  6. Ultrasound of the vessels of the neck and brain. In triplex or duplex mode, it is used to assess the patency of blood flow through arteries and vessels. Their condition is checked - wall thickness, permeability, etc.

Treatment of back pain

There are several treatments for back pain. A neurologist will choose the optimal treatment for you, taking into account the patient's age, lifestyle, level of physical mobility and clinical manifestations.

NSAIDs, analgesics, muscle relaxants, B vitamins are usually used in the medical treatment of back pain. Physiotherapy, exercise therapy, IRT, massage, spinal traction, muscle relaxation are prescribed along the way.

In case of back pain, in order for the treatment to be of good quality, it is recommended to see a doctor.



  • learn to maintain your posture and stand properly;
  • do not bend down;
  • keep your back straight while sitting, place a stand under your feet;
  • properly organize the place to sleep;
  • do not jump abruptly after waking up - stretch slowly, do simple exercises with arms and legs;
  • distribute weights on both hands - do not carry everything in one hand, refuse the bag over your shoulder - the backpack is better;
  • do not carry the child in your arms with your back;
  • weightlifting by squatting;
  • do not wash floors without a mop, lean forward or kneel;
  • balance your diet with enough minerals and vitamins;
  • quit smoking and alcohol;
  • do not forget about exercise - swimming, Nordic walking, yoga;
  • take a contrast shower in the morning;
  • protects the liver, it produces collagen for the ligaments of the spine and vertebral bodies;
  • strengthening immunity;
  • weight control;
  • it is recommended to undergo a course of manual therapy for 5-10 sessions every 6 months (recommended by a specialist);
  • avoid stress;
  • do not forget about medical examinations.

If you develop back pain, see a doctor who can help. Remember that any disease is easier to treat in the early stages.