What is it?
Back pain is sharp or aching pain usually in the back usually resulting from arthritis or injury. Back pain may be a short-term or chronic condition.
Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors
Back pain can be caused by many factors, such as injury or disease. Some of these causes include:
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Disc rupture
- Muscle spasms or tenseness
- Injury, such as sprains and fractures
Symptoms of back pain include:
- Pain that can range from shooting pain to a constant ache
- Limited flexibility and motion
Those at particular risk of suffering from back pain are:
- Between 30 and 40 years old.
- An athlete
- Not physically fit
- A smoker
- Have a family history of back pain
- Do work or other physical activities that put strain on the spine
A doctor will diagnose back pain by performing a physical examination, reviewing symptoms and medical history, and conducting blood and imaging tests, such as X-rays, an MRI or CT scans.
Treatments for back pain include:
The doctor may recommend surgery if non-surgical treatments do not improve the symptoms of back pain. This is particularly true if the patient has an existing condition—such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis or a tumor that causes chronic back pain.
- Icing or applying heat
- Undergoing physical therapy
- Modifying lifestyle or physical activities
- Taking anti-inflammatory medication