Back Pain Causes and Symptoms: What To Know?

two hands on back

While there are a variety of back pain causes and symptoms, the fact of the matter is back pain is one of the most common complaints that a person will have throughout their life.

In order to understand the pain, it is necessary to explore the symptoms that they evoke with specific attention to the areas that are directly affected by the pain.

After all, direct and radiating pain can all have different causes and symptoms, and need to have different treatments. Here we will take alook at some of the most common causes and symptoms of back pain.

Symptom: Dull Ache in the Lower Back

manipulationOne of the most common locations of back pain is in the lower back. For the most part, back pain causes in this region is directly related to the weight supported by the lumbar spine. While this may seem rather obvious are two important implications. First, it may be time to consider losing some weight to give your spinal structure a reprieve. A great deal of weight pushing down on the bottom curve of the spine can cause this dull ache and pain.

This in turn causes the second, more severe, type of chronic dull ache that is not easily remedied: Degenerative discs. After months or years of supporting a heavy torso and without proper muscle reinforcement, the spinal discs can wither away leaving an individual with a perpetual ache in the lower back. There is little that orthopedists can do aside from performing surgery and implement pain management.

Symptom: Shooting Pain Down the Lower Extremity

Microsoft PowerPoint - Presentation1One of the most common back pain causes results from an injury. This can typically presents an alarming pain that shoots down one leg. This is referred to as radiating pain because the injury has occurred in the lower back, but is felt running through the leg as well.

This is typically the result of a pinched nerve or disc material pressing against a nerve in the lower back. The result is a symptom of lower back pain with infrequent to constant jolts of pain that can be felt as low as the knee. This condition is commonly known as sciatica. Many times this condition can be relieved with physical therapy or pain management but if the patient does bot respond it is necessary to have surgical intervention.

Symptom: Numbness in Leg

A common symptom related to back pain causes and the radiating pain associated with the condition is numbness. Numbness or paresthesia is a sign that the nerve going into the leg from the central spine is impinged. Usually numbness throughout the leg is periodic but can be constant depending on the nerve irritation. Muscle spasms or tightness usually increases the numbness in the lower extremity.

Symptom: Pain that Spans the Shoulder Blades and Above

low back palpationWhile upper back pain is not nearly as common as lower back pain, it can still be just as severe. The two most common back pain causes for this area of the back are muscular injury and joint dysfunction. Muscular injury can occur in this area from heavy lifting or poor posture. Since it is nearly impossible to immobilize this part of the body, the pain is felt with enough frequency that it causes alarm.The remedy for this is physical therapy or chiropractic.

However, joint dysfunction between the thoracic vertebrae and ribs is a more serious injury that requires medical intervention. This is accomplished by pain management and upper back strengthening exercises. This injury is the less common of the two and it can be satisfactorily resolved without surgery.


What is extremely important regarding causes of back pain is that you should never ignore pain in these regions.