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What Are the Common Causes of a Backache?


What Are the Common Causes of a Backache?

Backaches happen and the causes are largely treatable. However, you need to know the cause to get the right treatment. In most cases, you are able to treat your backache with various self-help methods that you can do at home.

Ligament or Muscle Strain

Muscle and ligament strains typically occur as a result of a trauma, such as an awkward movement or a fall. This can cause a ligament or a muscle to unexpectedly and suddenly tear. There are various grades of strains, but a grade one strain that is mild is most likely to contribute to a backache. In addition to pain coming on suddenly, the following symptoms are also possible:

  • Soreness
  • Discoloration or bruising
  • Feeling of a knot under the skin
  • Weakness or stiffness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Swelling
  • Muscle spasms


Osteoarthritis is the most common type and it can affect the joints in the spine. It most often occurs as a result of age-related wear and tear on those joints. It gets worse with time and as it worsens, pain is one of the most common symptoms. The pain can be very severe for some people, but it most cases, it presents as an ache in the affected area of the back. Other symptoms can include:

  • Range of motion loss
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness

Bulging Spinal Disc

A bulging spinal disc can result in pressure on the spinal nerve roots in the area. The exact symptoms will depend on the location of the bulge. Pain is a common symptom and when the bulging disc is in the lower back, the pain can be in the legs and/or lower back. Symptoms like numbness in the extremities and muscle tightness in the area around the affected disc are also possible.

Muscle Spasm

Muscles can go into spasm in any area of the back. The pain can be dull or sharp, depending on the severity of the spasm. Something as simple as moving the wrong way can result in a muscle spasm. A spasm can cause the following symptoms:

  • Hard lump under the skin
  • The ache starts suddenly
  • Feeling of a knot under the skin

Skeletal Irregularities

Things like scoliosis can lead to back pain and many people do not know that they have an abnormal spinal curvature if it is mild until they experience pain. In mild cases, you might have a backache in your lower back if you perform vigorous activity. In most cases, a day of rest alleviates the pain in this instance.

If your back pain worsens as the days pass or lasts for weeks, you should consult your healthcare provider. This might indicate a more serious issue. If your pain comes on suddenly after a trauma, it is also important to see a healthcare provider to determine the cause and severity of your injury.

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