Why does my back hurt?

Man hurts his back

Everyone has experienced back pain. For some it is a periodic pain, for others it is constant. To get rid of discomfort, many people drink pain relievers and do not pay attention to the true causes of discomfort. This can lead to serious complications and pathologies.

Back pain can be caused by diseases of the internal organs or the spine, as well as injuries. Sometimes discomfort is the result of poor posture, physical exertion, or sudden movement.

First, you need to find out why your back hurts, and only then start treatment.

Types of back pain

The diagnosis can be assumed taking into account the nature of the back pain.

For example, if the pain is painful and is aggravated by heavy lifting, physical exertion, hypothermia, or prolonged immobility, the cause may be myositis, low back pain, or intervertebral hernia.

Acute pain radiating to the legs or arms may indicate radiculitis, intervertebral hernia, or osteochondrosis. Unpleasant sensations are aggravated by walking, bending, or coughing, and limb weakness is felt.

Anyway, intervertebral hernia, lumbago and osteochondrosis, as well as spondylosis, can also cause throbbing pain. This is confirmed when the pain does not subside even after painkillers.

If shooting or squeezing pain occurs in the chest area, this is a sign of pulmonary embolism or myocardial infarction. The discomfort in the spine speaks of spondyloarthrosis and in the lumbar region, of intestinal obstruction. Atherosclerosis can be the cause of crushing neck pain.

Back pain after sleeping

In the morning, your back can hurt, not just from the wrong mattress or the wrong posture during sleep. Hypothermia, stress, or lifting heavy objects the day before can cause stiffness and pain under the shoulder blades, in the lower back, on the right or left side.

The reasons can be different: curvature of the spine, osteochondrosis, intervertebral hernia or obesity. Also, your back may hurt in the morning during pregnancy.

Spine and joint pathologies

Discomfort in the spine can be associated with diseases of the musculoskeletal system:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis. Due to muscle spasm, the patient leans forward to relieve discomfort. Later, the inflamed vertebrae harden and grow together, making the spine less flexible.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. The disease begins in the knees, hip joint, or shoulders, and then moves to the cervical spine. In the morning, patients have throbbing sensations and stiffness - the affected vertebrae put unnecessary pressure on the nerves.
  • Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis. The patient feels discomfort in the lumbar area: the vertebrae move and squeeze the nerve endings.
  • Osteomyelitis. Acute muscle pain occurs due to an infection in the bone tissue of the spine.
  • Osteochondrosis. With this disease, the depreciation of the spine is aggravated. The discs between the vertebrae are damaged and the fibrous annulus ruptures: the nucleus of the disc comes out through the cracks and is pinched.
  • Intervertebral hernia. The bulge between the vertebrae is compressed during movement, as a result of which it is affected.

Diseases associated with the musculature.

The source of the discomfort may be spasms and indurations in the muscular corset that supports the spine:

  • Fibromyalgia With this disease, the back hurts from the neck to the lower back, and the discomfort is aggravated by pressing certain places.
  • DermatomyositisThe skin around the striated and smooth muscles becomes inflamed.
  • Polymyositis. The disease is caused by overexertion or hypothermia: it hurts to turn and muscles are weak.
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica. It is difficult for the patient to stand up without someone's help and the asymmetry is clearly visible on his back.
  • Charcot's disease. The peripheral nerves along the spine become inflamed. Sensitivity worsens, muscles weaken, and the patient's gait changes.

Spinal cord diseases

Unpleasant sensations can occur due to the fact that any part of the spinal cord is pinched or inflamed.

Sources of pain in this case:

  • compression of the spinal membranes as a result of a fracture, hematoma or abscess;
  • inflammation of the nearby muscles;
  • circulatory disorders;
  • hemorrhage;
  • lack of vitamins;
  • complication of HIV or syphilis;
  • back tumor of various etiology;
  • multiple sclerosis.


The back can also hurt from psychological factors: depression, nervous tension, chronic stress or sexual dissatisfaction.

Location of back pain

Unpleasant sensations at different points on the back are caused by different factors.

For example, pain on the right side occurs due to lordosis, scoliosis, kyphosis, or displacement of the intervertebral disc. The left side hurts due to splenitis, pinching of the spine or duodenitis, and the origin of low back pain can be sciatica, osteochondrosis or intervertebral hernia.

If it hurts just above the lower back on the right, it may be myositis, on the left - osteochondrosis.

Discomfort in the entire spine indicates a bulge, which can develop into osteochondrosis.

When should you see a doctor as soon as possible?

If the cause of back pain is tension or stress, it will go away after a few days. However, in the event that the pain only increases, urgent medical attention is needed.

Immediate medical consultation is needed in the following situations:

  • cannot find a position where the pain is weak;
  • have recently had a back injury or contusion;
  • the condition worsens at night;
  • the patient's gait has changed;
  • the patient has a fever;
  • limbs become weak, numb, tingling is felt;
  • painkillers don't help.

Back pain diagnosis

To determine the cause of your back discomfort, you need to make an appointment with a neurologist. If necessary, blood tests should be done to check for infection or inflammation. Examinations may also be necessary, which will be prescribed by a specialist.

Duplex and triplex ultrasound of the vessels in the neck and brain is needed to diagnose the causes of headache, dizziness, or high blood pressure.

MRI allows you to see tumors in the vertebrae, compression of the spinal nerves and the spinal cord, herniated intervertebral discs, narrowing of the spinal canal. CT is needed to detect vertebral fractures.

X-rays help assess the state of bone structures to diagnose fractures, spondylolisthesis, arthritis, and the degree of poor posture.

Electromyography detects compression of the nerve due to spinal stenosis or a herniated disc.

How to relieve back pain?

First of all, you need to relax. To do this, lie on your stomach on a flat, hard surface, preferably on the floor. After a few minutes, roll onto your back and lift your legs so they are at a 90-degree angle. This will reduce the load on the column.

Anti-inflammatory ointments and creams are also helpful. When the pain subsides, you need to get up gently and bandage the painful area with a scarf or towel.

If pain relievers are not available, a cold compress (an ice pack or food from the freezer) will help relieve severe pain. It will not be possible to completely get rid of the discomfort, but it can alleviate the condition. The diametrically opposite option will also help: a heating pad or a heating compress.

A light warm-up or a quiet walk will help get rid of unpleasant sensations.

Back pain treatment

After examination and diagnosis, the doctor prescribes treatment. To ease the discomfort, a specialist prescribes pain relievers, B vitamins, and muscle relaxants. Sometimes bed rest and wearing a special corset are recommended.

An important stage of treatment is physical therapy. These are drug electrophoresis, laser therapy, phonophoresis, and magnetic therapy. Electrostimulation and acupuncture also help.

For back pain, massage, manual therapy, osteopathy, and exercise therapy are effective. They also help with trauma rehabilitation.

Back pain prevention.

To avoid back discomfort, you need to move more. Morning exercises and yoga, contrast shower, and massage courses are effective.

It is important to maintain the health of the collagen-producing liver and to stimulate immunity. The weight is worth keeping an eye on, as every ten extra pounds increases the load on the spine.

But first of all, you need to avoid stress and create a uniform psychological atmosphere around yourself.