Enquire Now


Pain in back is a common complaint that can occur to any individual of any age. It is an uncomfortable situation that can be quick or remain for long time and also disturbs the lifestyle of the sufferer. It mainly occurs due to malfunctioning of the bones, muscles and ligaments in the back.

back pain

Risk factors for back pain

Although pain in back can occur due to so many reasons but there are certain factors that increases the likelihood of developing back pain. These include:

  • Stressful job
  • Strenuous physical exercise or activity
  • Anxiety
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Depression
  • Adults between 35 to 55 years of age
  • Pregnancy
  • Being female
  • Obesity/overweight
  • Smoking


Causes of back pain

In most of the cases of back pain, it is quite difficult to find out the real cause of pain. The probable cause of pain could be any of the following:

  • Improper lifting of anything that is too heavy may strain the muscles or ligaments in the back
  • An abrupt and awkward movement involving back
  • Spasm of the back muscles
  • Back is composed of a complex structure of muscles, ligaments, tendons, disks and bones. Structural abnormality of any of these can cause back pain:
    • Ruptured disks
    • Bulging disks
    • Sciatica
    • Arthritis
    • Abnormal curvature of the spine
    • Osteoporosis
  • Infection of spine, kidney or bladder
  • Cancer of spine
  • Sleeping on bad mattress that keeps the spine straight and does not support specific parts of the body
  • Poor everyday activity or posture like:
    • Awkward bending
    • Bending for long periods
    • Excessive or incorrect pulling/pushing/carrying/lifting of something
    • Standing for long periods
    • Over or forceful twisting of the back
    • Muscle tension
    • Over-stretching
    • Sitting in a hunched position for long periods (e.g. when driving)
    • Long driving sessions without a break (even when not hunched)


Diagnosis of back pain

The diagnosis of back pain requires thorough physical examination of the patient and the detailed history of the disease. In addition to this, following diagnostic tests are performed to confirm the cause of the pain and the treatment required:

  • X-rays of the back
  • CT (computerized tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan
  • Bone scan
  • Electromyography or EMG
  • Blood test


Treatments for back pain

Most of the back pain cases can be resolved with rest, change in lifestyle or OTC (over-the-counter, no prescription required) painkillers. If these do not help, following treatment options may be required depending upon the cause and severity of the pain:


Medication – If PTC painkillers do not help then a prescription of NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) or codeine or hydrocodone (narcotics) or tricyclic antidepressants may be required for short periods under the close monitoring by the doctor.


Physical Therapy (Physiotherapy) – This includes application of heat, ice, ultrasound and electrical stimulation and other muscle-relaxing techniques to alleviate pain.


Cortisone injections – The back pain that radiates to the patient's legs may need cortisone injection.


TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) – It involves delivery of small electric pulses into the body through electrodes that are placed on the skin. This encourages the body to produce endorphins, and may possibly block pain signals returning to the brain.


Surgery - Surgery is rarely required for back pain but may be the only option to give relief to the patient after all the conservative management methods fail. Examples of surgical procedures include:

  • Fusion
  • Artificial disk insertion
  • Discectomy (partially removing a disk)
  • Partially removing a vertebra