The Common Types of Back Pain: A Simple Guide

The Common Types of Back Pain: A Simple Guide

Over sixteen million Americans live with chronic back pain, and more than four times that number have reported recent back pain flare-ups. Everyone experiences back pain at some point, but few people understand it.

There are many different types of back pain; you might have short, sharp pains or long, dull aches. Understanding the causes of back pain can help you treat your issues and relieve some discomfort.

Most back pains can be divided into three different categories: pain from nerve damage, pain from muscle strain, and pain from bone issues. Keep reading to learn more about these different kinds of back pain.

Nerve Pain

Chronic nerve pain is one of the most devastating forms of back pain. Your doctor might call it radicular, or radiating, pain–it radiates along your nerves, often originating from your spinal cord.

This searing pain may not stop at your back, either. Pain that starts in your lumbar region (your lower back) can radiate out to your legs, while pain in your cervical spine (your neck) can move through your arms.

If your back pain is accompanied by pain in your legs or hands, you’re probably experiencing nerve pain. Nerve pain is usually sharp and searing, but it can also take the form of a persistent dull ache.

Nerve pain may be caused by a herniated or compressed disc. In such cases, back pain treatment consists of rest and medication. Some physical therapy may be necessary.

Muscle Pain

The most common back pain symptoms are the result of strained muscles and ligaments. There are a few ligaments and several muscles in your back that strenuous activity might strain.

Muscle pain usually comes in the form of aches, rather than sharp pains. Movement can exacerbate the pain–if your back hurts when you turn around or bend over, it’s likely the result of muscle pain.

There are a few methods for getting rid of back pain caused by sore muscles. Ice and compression can help, as can a therapy called needling. As with most back injuries, rest is key to a healthy recovery.

Bone Pain

Severe back injuries can result in broken bones. These fractures can be extremely painful, but they aren’t the only type of bone pain associated with a throbbing back.

Osteoporosis causes brittle bones; the condition often leads to fractured vertebrae. Arthritis is another common condition that can lead to bone pain in your back.

Worn-out cartilage leads to a condition called spondylosis. Without cartilage, your bones rub against each other, causing pain and creating bone spurs. Cervical spondylosis affects discs in your neck and back.

Understanding the Types of Back Pain

Dealing with the different types of back pain can be difficult; if you can identify where the pain originates, it’s easier to get the proper treatment. Now that you know about different back pain symptoms, you can find the relief you need.

Are you looking for more ways to stay fit and free of aches and pains? Visit our health blog, where you’ll find articles about workout routines, diet and nutrition, dental hygiene, and more!