Why does your back hurt? Five common causes of back pain

Updated on September 20, 2019

Did you know that almost 80% of Americans already have or will have back problems at some point in their lives? Back pain is one of the most common reasons people see a doctor. Back pain is not a disease and may occur from a variety of different processes.

There can be many underlying reasons and often, no specific cause is diagnosed, and the pain stops typically. However, back pain is generally a result of bad posture, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, muscle strains or sprains.

It is essential to know that severe pain does not necessarily mean there is a severe problem. Sometimes going to a physiotherapist or chiropractor for back pain works magic. If the pain persists and you really think it is something serious, you should see a specialist, but it is still wise to be aware of the possible causes of it. Here are some common causes of back pain :

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis occurs when the small spinal canal, containing nerve roots and spinal cord, becomes compressed. This causes pinching of the spinal cord and nerve roots, which leads to pain, cramping, numbness or weakness. It commonly occurs in the neck and lower back. The condition is often caused by age-related wear and tear. Possible symptoms are pain, numbness, muscle weakness and impaired bladder or bowel control.


Sciatica is a pain caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerve, a large nerve extending from the lower back down the back of each leg. It typically affects only one side of the body. Leg pain, bad leg cramp, shooting leg pain could be sciatica. Sciatic nerve pain can be so excruciating that you don’t even want to get off the bed.


Spondylosis is the medical term for the wear-and-tear changes that occur in the cervical spine (neck) over time. It refers to degenerative changes in the spine such as bone spurs and degenerating intervertebral discs between the vertebrae. One common symptom is pain around the shoulder blade. Some complain of pain along the arm and in the fingers.

Herniated or slipped disc

Located between each of the vertebrae in the spinal column, discs act as shock absorbers for the spinal bones. However, injury or weakness can cause the inner portion of the disc to protrude through the outer ring. This is known as a herniated or slipped disc which causes pain and discomfort. The whole disc is not ruptured, only a small area of the crack is affected. If the slipped disc compresses one of your spinal nerves, you may also experience numbness and pain along the affected nerve.


Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of one or both of your sacroiliac joints, situated where your lower spine and pelvis connect. Sacroiliitis can cause pain in your buttocks or lower back and can extend down one or both legs. Prolonged standing or stair climbing can worsen the pain. It can be caused by traumatic injury, infection, arthritis, and even pregnancy.

The good news is that in most cases, it isn’t a severe problem, and it might just be caused by a simple strain to a muscle or ligament. It is best to continue with your normal everyday activities and to keep moving. Staying active and exercising will help you get better. Visiting a chiropractor in Frederick, MD has worked wonders for some people and have relieved them of pain.

However, if the pain seems to be chronic, having a thorough, hands-on evaluation of the back is the best way to determine the underlying cause of pain so treatment can be more effective.

Now that you are aware of some possible causes of back pain, you will not take it seriously, instead work on improving your lifestyle.

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