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What Are The 3 Main Causes of Back Pain?

Back pain is a condition that will affect almost everyone at some point in their life.

While the causes can be numerous and complex, there are three primary culprits behind most cases of back pain: mechanical issues, injuries, and diseases or conditions affecting the spine. Let's delve deeper into these causes and provide a clearer understanding of each.

Mechanical Issues:

The most common cause of back pain arises from mechanical problems. These problems are related to how the spine moves or the way an individual feels when they move the spine in a certain direction.

Some examples include:

1. Disc Degeneration: With age, the intervertebral discs, which serve as cushions between the bones in the spine, begin to wear and tear. As they degenerate, they lose their cushioning ability, leading to pain.

2. Herniated or Ruptured Discs: The soft material inside a disc can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve, causing pain, numbness, or weakness in the back or along the pathway of the nerve, like in the arm or leg.

3. Muscle or Ligament Strain: Repeated heavy lifting or sudden awkward movements can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments, leading to painful muscle spasms.

4. Spinal Stenosis: This is a condition where the space around the spinal cord narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, often causing pain down the back and into the legs.


Trauma can cause various types of back pain, depending on the nature and severity of the injury.

Some common back injuries include:

1. Sprains and Strains: These are the most common injuries that cause back pain. A sprain involves a tear or stretch in a ligament, while a strain involves a tear or stretch in a muscle or tendon. Activities such as lifting something improperly, lifting something too heavy, or overstretching can lead to these injuries.

2. Fractures: A break in one of the bones in your spine, commonly caused by trauma like a fall or a vehicle accident can lead to severe back pain. In elderly individuals, osteoporosis can also lead to severe back pain.

3. Spinal Cord Injury: This is less common but far more severe. Damage to the spinal cord can result from trauma such as a car crash or a fall. Symptoms can range from pain to paralysis, depending on the severity and location of the injury.

Diseases or Conditions Affecting the Spine:

There are several diseases and conditions that can lead to back pain.

Some examples include:

1. Arthritis: Osteoarthritis can affect the lower back, causing pain. Rheumatoid arthritis, although less common, can also impact the spine.

2. Osteoporosis: This condition leads to brittle, porous bones which can result in compression fractures in the spine.

3. Scoliosis: An abnormal curvature of the spine can lead to back pain, especially in severe cases.

4. Cancer: Though rare, tumors on the spine can press against nerves, leading to back pain.

5. Kidney Problems: Issues like kidney stones or kidney infections can result in back pain, usually located on one side and below the ribs.

Fortunately, the vast majority of back pain can be resolved, or at least well managed with a combination of manual chiropractic adjustments, acoustic wave therapy, and specific exercises.

If you or someone you know experiences persistent back pain, we would love to help.

Call our office at (417) 598-0080 or just click the button below to make an appointment.

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all health care concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a health care professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

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