What causes Back Pain?

Muscle Spasm

Ninety percent of back conditions are associated with long-term habits that reduce muscular flexibility, culminating eventuallyin a`n acute attack of back pain. True Sciatica occurs in less than ten percent of people.


Another most common cause is when muscle spasm occurs due to sub-clinical infections in the body. In hot and humid climates, the incidence of urinary tract infection or infections around the pelvis in women is high. Infections of the large intestine such as amoebiasis also cause back pain.

Ruptured Disc/Disc Prolapse

A frequent cause of low back pain is due to the “slipped disc”, often striking people in the 20-35 age group. This occurs due to frequent and improper bending and lifting. The disc lies between the bones acting like a soft cushion or a shock absorber that absorbs sudden shocks to the back.
Repeated trauma results in rupture or prolapse.

Degeneration of the discs

When vertebrae begin to wear down, the condition is called osteoarthritis. The discs are made up of 80% water and 20% protein. As age advances, the amount of water in the discs is reduced. Hence, the distance between vertebrae is reduced, resulting in the reduction of the height of the spine. Also when the intervertebral disc starts to degenerate, the spinal canal may narrow and spurring may develop, clinically known as spondylosis, in the lower back. Such low back pain may spread to the buttocks and the thighs and may be aggravated by exercise or poor posture.

Inflammation of the backbone

Also known as Ankylosing Spondylitis, it occurs mainly in the men in the 15-25 age group. Initially the back is stiff and painful and the pain increases with rest. A person with this condition will often wake up with an aching and stiff back. Exercise can provide relief.


Sprain is a partial tear of a ligament that has been overstretched.


Repeated extension of the spine may cause the vertebrae to slip back and forth and even crack causing pressure on the nerve.

Spinal Trauma

A fall can result in spinal trauma, which leads to serious consequences such as paralysis of the arms, legs and trunk if the trauma occurs in the neck and paralysis of the legs due to damage in the lower back. Horse riding accidents and diving in shallow pools will result in acute bending of the neck and hence, the spinal cord, resulting in total paralysis. Damages to the spine due to trauma are irreversible.


The infection eats the bone and results in pus formation that causes pressure on the spine; paralysis due to tuberculosis is reversible. If the damage is not much, bed rest and medicines provide an effective cure. If the damage is severe, surgical intervention may be necessary.

Pain in the Neck

The neck is the most mobile part of the back and that is why problems associated with the neck are more common. The underlying causes foe neck pain are similar to those of the lower back pains. Cervical Spondylosis is a common condition that afflicts many people. Acute back pain radiates to the arms. Numbness of the hands and fingers occur when the condition advances.


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