Why Does Your Back Hurt? Everything You Need to Know About Back Pain

posted by Chris Valentine

Back pain is something that almost everyone is going to experience at some point in time. According to studies, about 80% of Americans suffer from back pain at least once throughout the course of their lives.

But not all back pain is created equal. Some people are forced to deal with back pain as a result of injuries. Others develop back pain due to issues with the muscles, discs, and nerves in their backs.

Why does your back hurt right now? If you’re not sure, you should try to get to the root cause of your back pain so that you can fix it.

It can be difficult to diagnose the exact issue with your back. But once you’re able to do it, you can get the relief you need and make your back start to feel better again.

Here is everything you need to know about what could be causing your back pain to occur.

You Could Have a Herniated Disc in Your Back

Your spine consists of a bunch of different muscles, discs, joints, and nerves that all work together. But at times, one of these elements will stop doing its part and cause you to experience pain.

The discs in your spine, in particular, can cause a variety of problems with your back if you’re not careful. Herniated discs have turned into a big issue for many people over the years and resulted in a lot of back pain.

Those with herniated discs have discs in their spines that have popped out of place. Wear and tear can cause these discs to slip out from in between the joints in your spine.

If you have a herniated disc, you’ll often experience pain either in your lower back or in your hips. This is because the nerves in these areas are getting pressed down on due to your herniated disc.

You Could Also Have a Bulging Disc in Your Back

If you have a bulging disc in your back, it’s not quite as painful as a herniated disc. But it can still cause some pain if the disc manages to push down on one of the nerves in your back.

When a disc bulges in your back, it pops slightly out of place. But it doesn’t move out of place as much as a herniated disc, which is why it doesn’t force you to deal with as much pain.

That being said, a bulging disc in your back is still a cause for concern. It could develop into a much more painful problem over time if you don’t take it easy and allow your back to heal.

You Could Be Dealing With Degenerative Disc Disease

As you start to get older, the discs in your back can begin to break down on you. They’ll often shrink or even tear for no reason other than just old age.

When this happens, you might be diagnosed with a condition called degenerative disc disease. It can cause the bones in your spine to rub up against one another, which can lead to a lot of pain.

It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your back as you get up there in age to monitor it for signs of degenerative disc disease. It’s a disease that could potentially get worse over time if you don’t take any steps to slow down its progression.

You Could Have an Inflamed Sacroiliac Joint

Your spine and your pelvis meet at your sacroiliac joint. This joint doesn’t have to do a whole lot and doesn’t move much on a regular basis, but it’s an important joint because it basically connects the top of your body to the bottom of your body.

If you feel pain in the area of your sacroiliac joint, it could be because the cartilage that surrounds the joint has worn away. You might also find swelling and inflammation taking place near the joint due to an injury or an infection.

There are even some pregnant women who are forced to manage the pain associated with an inflamed sacroiliac joint. Be conscious of the fact that this joint could be to blame for a whole lot of back pain.

You Could Have a Condition Called Spinal Stenosis

If you’re over 60 and suffering from sudden back pain, you could be dealing with a condition called spinal stenosis. When you have this condition, your spinal canal will narrow and put pressure on the various nerves that run up and down your spine.

Those with spinal stenosis might feel back pain because of this. But more commonly, they feel numbness in both their shoulders and their legs.

You will have to seek the services of an orthopedic spine surgeon to get a handle on this condition. Otherwise, you’ll end up having to live with pain and numbness for a long time.

You Could Be Living With Spondylolisthesis

The bones in your spine are designed to stay in the same place at all times. But even now and then, one of these bones might slip forward just slightly and stay out of place.

This often happens in a person’s lower back, and it can be painful for those dealing with it. It results in a condition called spondylolisthesis. It can also get worse and lead to arthritis in your back if left untreated.

If you suspect that you might have spondylolisthesis, it’s best to get to a doctor quickly to have it checked out. The joints and ligaments that are responsible for keeping your spine in alignment might weaken over time if you don’t seek medical attention and cause further back pain.

You Could Have a Fracture in Your Back

Most of the conditions that we’ve mentioned thus far can set in without you sustaining any kind of injury. They’ll pop up one day without much warning and leave you feeling confused when people ask, “Why does your back hurt?”

But there are also lots of back problems that stem from car accidents, sports injuries, slips and falls, and other events that take place in your life. A back fracture is one of them.

If you’re ever involved in a car crash or if you ever slip and fall on some ice outside your home, you might hit your back. And when you do, there is a chance that a portion of your back might fracture.

A tiny fracture might not cause a ton of pain. But a larger one could leave you immobile. Either way, you should always have your back examined by a doctor if you’re ever in an accident and sustain trauma to it. They can look for any signs of a fracture.

You Could Have a Sprain or Strain in Your Back Muscles

There are a series of muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your back that are in charge of providing support for your spine. They can cause you to experience pain if you ever happen to sprain or strain one of them.

You can sprain or strain your back by lifting a heavy object improperly or by making an awkward movement during a sporting event. You should be careful about how you twist and turn your back to avoid spraining or straining anything in it.

And if you do happen to sprain or strain your back, you should give it the rest it needs to heal. You can make a sprain or strain worse and develop other back problems if you try to push through the pain.

You Could Be Suffering From Spasms in Your Back Muscles

You can do more than just sprain or strain the muscles and tendons in your back. You can also tear them if you’re not careful.

While it’s difficult to tear back muscles and tendons, it’s far from impossible. Those who lift heavy weights while working out or play sports are often susceptible to muscle and tendon tears in the back.

When you tear a back muscle or tendon, it’ll obviously cause a ton of pain. But it can also lead to you suffering from muscle spasms in your back. This will make the pain so much worse and could leave you lying down more often than not until your back heals.

You Could Be Living With Back Pain Caused by Your Lifestyle

Did you know that the average person spends about 10 hours each day sitting down? Many people are chained to their desks at school or work all day long, which limits the movements that they make.

Sitting for that amount of time every single day can lead to a whole host of health issues, including back pain. If you find yourself sitting for long stretches of time almost every day, you should make it a point to start standing more to reduce the chances of back problems developing.

You can also make other lifestyle changes to alleviate back pain. You can make back pain a thing of the past by:

  • Losing weight

  • Quitting smoking

  • Getting more exercise

  • Wearing flat shoes over high heels

  • Giving your body the sleep it needs at night

You’ll be amazed by how much better your entire body feels—back and all—when you’re leading a healthier lifestyle.

You Could Have Back Pain Caused by Stress

Stress is something that has started to take a toll on just about everyone in the U.S. People are stressed out over so many different things.

According to a study done by The American Institute of Stress:

  • About 62% of people stress out over money

  • About 61% of people stress out over work

  • About 57% of people stress out over politics

Most people think stress only affects their minds and their emotions. But guess what? It can also lead to muscle tension throughout your body, including in your back.

There are also other mental health issues that can cause back pain in some people. Anxiety and depression are a couple of good examples of mental health conditions that can both cause and worsen back pain in a person.

You Could Have Another Medical Condition Causing Back Pain

As you’ve seen, there are so many different medical conditions that can cause back pain to occur. But believe it or not, there are also lots of other conditions that we haven’t touched on yet that could be behind your unexplained back pain.

Arthritis is one common condition that can cause back pain to pop up. It’s a joint disease that can lead to your back feeling stiff. It can also cause swelling and even inflammation in your back.

Scoliosis is another relatively common condition that can cause back pain. It’s a curvature of the spine, and while it’s something that you’re born with, the pain associated with it doesn’t always present itself until you hit middle age.

Some other medical conditions that could lead to you dealing with back pain include:

  • Endometriosis

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Kidney stones

  • Osteomyelitis

If people are always asking you the question, “Why does your back hurt?”, and you don’t know the answer, consider the role that one of these conditions could be playing in it.

So, Why Does Your Back Hurt? There’s Only One Way to Find Out

So, why does your back hurt? That’s the million-dollar question, and unfortunately, it’s not always easy to answer it.

Your back could hurt because of a herniated disc in it. It could also hurt because you picked up a heavy box too quickly and sprained a muscle in it. It could even hurt because of all the stress you’ve been dealing with at work in recent weeks.

Whatever the case, the only surefire way to find out what’s wrong with your back is by making a doctor’s appointment. A doctor can run tests, take X-rays, and do other things to work towards finding you a diagnosis for your back pain.

From there, you can take the proper steps to make your back pain go away once and for all. Whether that means resting your back for an extended period of time or undergoing surgery, you can find a way to prevent back pain from slowing you down.

Want to learn more about back pain and figure out how to combat it? Browse through the other articles on our blog for additional information on back pain.

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