Why does my back hurt?

As we age, many of us begin to experience back pain.  Studies show that 80% of all Americans will experience back pain at least once in their lives.  There are numerous causes of back pain – and many effective treatment options.

Common causes of back pain

Strains – including strained muscles, ligaments and muscle spasms. Lifting something improperly and/or too heavy can cause strains – along with an abrupt or awkward movement.  Coughing, sneezing, over-stretching and long periods of driving or computer use without a break can also cause strain.

Degenerative disc disease. DDD is the most common cause of lower back pain.  DDD is often a genetic condition, but can also be due to normal aging, injuries, improper bending and twisting – and nicotine use/smoking.

Ruptured and bulging disks, which put pressure on a nerve.

Arthritis and osteoporosis


Abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis)

A sedentary life style

Infections, stress, depression, pregnancy, obesity, sleep disorder, poor posture, shingles, a bad mattress and even cancer can also contribute to back pain.

Treatments for back pain

In many cases, back pain resolves itself with careful attention and home treatment including over-the-counter painkillers, a hot compress or ice pack, and rest.  But for your peace-of-mind and long term health, it may be best to consult with a physician to see if there’s an underlying cause with other treatment required.  Treatment options could include:

If OTC painkillers have not helped –- and depending on your diagnosis — your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory drug, hydrocodone or other narcotic for a short period of time.  If the pain reaches down to the legs, your doctor may recommend cortisone injections.

Physical therapy including strength exercises for the back and abdominal muscles.

Surgery for back pain is rare. However, if a patient has a herniated disk, surgery may be an option – especially if there is persistent pain and nerve compression, which can lead to muscle weakness.

If you’ve been suffering from persistent back pain, it’s important to see a POSMC physician to learn the cause of your condition – and your treatment options.  With so many proven treatments, there’s no reason to suffer with debilitating back pain any longer! POSMC can help Make an appointment now!