Back Pain Conditions A-Z

If you’re searching for information about the types back different types of back pain conditions, you’ll find answers here. These articles cover both common and uncommon chronic back pain conditions.

Below, you will find information about each pain condition’s causes and symptoms, along with pain treatment options, pain management ideas, and suggested pain medicine. Our goal is to educate and empower you so that you can decide the best treatment for your pain.

Click on one of the links below to jump to each section. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, try the search box above to browse our archives, or visit our pain treatment archives.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

This form of arthritis causes inflammation of the spinal joints, which can lead to severe chronic pain. If the condition persists over a long period of time, the chronic inflammation can lead to ankylosis, where new bone forms in the spine. This may cause parts of the spine to fuse together in a fixed position. Read more…

Arthritis and Joint Pain

According to the Arthritis Foundation, nearly 20% of all Americans suffer daily with achy joints. And half of those suffering with arthritis and joint pain think mainstream medical treatments like cortisone injections and pain pills are their only options for relief. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read more

Arthritis of the Spine
Spinal arthritis happens when the cartilage begins to break down in your facet, or vertebral, joints. These joints are particularly prone to arthritis because of the pressure they’re under every day. Spinal arthritis can occur in any part of your back, and may make it harder for you to do things like bend, twist or stretch. Read more…

Back Pain in Children

While most people think of back pain as a problem only faced by older people, the truth is that back pain affects anywhere from 18 to 58 percent of children. That’s bad news — a child’s spine is never more vulnerable than during his or her early years of development. Read more…

Chronic Fatigue

There’s a difference between being tired once in a while and feeling extremely fatigued day after day, no matter how much rest you get. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is severe fatigue that lasts for more than six months and limits your ability to perform everyday tasks. Read more…

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for 3 to 6 months or more. Although everyone experiences pain at some point in their lives, people with chronic pain experience ongoing pain that lingers for weeks, months, and sometimes years after an injury has healed. Read more…

Coccydynia

Coccydynia is a big word that means “pain in the tailbone,” or coccyx. It’s usually caused by inflammation in the tip of the tailbone as the result of an injury, which can range from a fall to childbirth. For some people, however, tailbone pain occurs spontaneously without an easily identifiable cause. Read more…

Depression

It might surprise you, but your mental state has a huge impact on the rest of your body and can play a huge role in all types of pain, including back pain. Learn seven habits that can can negatively affect your mood and your health — and how to turn things around. Read more…

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) isn’t really a “disease” at all. But it’s the term we use to refer to the typical changes that take place in your spinal discs over your lifetime. Although degenerative disc disease can occur in any part of the spine, it most often occurs in the lumbar region (lower back) or the neck. Read more…

Facet Joint Syndrome

The facet joints in your spine act like hinges, linking your vertebrae together. Each joint is surrounded by connective tissue, ligaments and cartilage, and coated with synovial fluid that helps to lubricate the joint for easy, pain-free movement. When the cartilage wears down to an extremely thin layer and the synovial fluid begins to leak out, allowing your facet joints to dry out, it can cause inflammation and extra friction between your vertebrae — friction that may be anywhere from mildly irritating to debilitating. Read more…

Fibromyalgia

This misunderstood and frequently misdiagnosed disorder is one of the most common chronic pain conditions, affecting approximately 10 million people in the U.S. alone. And most of those cases (as many as 90%) are women. The most common symptoms include widespread muscle and joint pain and fatigue. Read more…

Forward Head Posture

Forward head posture (FHP) is one of the most common postural problems in modern society. Like the name implies, FHP is when you carry your head forward of your shoulders, so that it’s not in proper postural alignment. This can cause a range of ailments, including tension headaches, numbness or tingling in your arms or hands and painful knots in your shoulders and back. Read more…

Herniated Disc

“Herniated disc” is a broad term that may also be referred to as a slipped disc, a bulging disc, a prolapsed disc or a ruptured disc. They’re all essentially the same thing. Technically, a bulging disc occurs when the outermost part of the disc begins to weaken and the inner soft part starts to press outward, creating an outward bulge. When the inside material, called the nucleus pulposus, breaks through the disc’s annulus – the tough outer wall – you have a herniation as the material protrudes through the wall. Read more…

Knee Pain

While all joints are vulnerable to injury and overuse, your knee is particularly susceptible because it’s under a lot of stress every day, just from normal daily activities. Knee pain affects nearly 20 percent of all adults in the U.S. If left untreated, knee pain can lead to joint damage, and eventually, disability. Read more…

Leg Pain

Although leg pain can be caused by injury or trauma, for people with chronic leg pain, the problem is often sciatica. Keep in mind sciatica is a symptom of an underlying condition that needs to be treated in order to address the pain. Read more…

Lower Back Pain

A lot of things can cause lower back pain, but the two most common are trauma and muscle imbalances. Barring trauma, the most important thing to understand about lower back pain is that it doesn’t happen overnight. Symptoms of lower back pain vary, and can range from local pain to pain that radiates down the legs and/or arms. Read more…

Muscle Strain

Generally, a muscle strain means that a muscle or attaching ligaments are damaged. They often occur when you’ve overused or over-stretched a muscle. Muscle strains can usually be treated effectively at home with a few simple steps. Read more…

Neck Pain

Muscles function properly when they’re in an optimal position — and they don’t work well when they’re either stretched out or very tight. When either one of these situations occur, your muscles will pull on your bones abnormally and place added stress on the discs and joints in your neck, back and shoulders. In order to fully address neck pain, you have to look at your whole spine from top to bottom and deal with all muscle imbalances and postural dysfunctions. Read more…

Pinched Nerve

The two most common reasons for a pinched nerve are herniated discs and muscle imbalances, both of which are the result of postural dysfunctions. These dysfunctions put abnormal pressure on the disc that will cause increased wear and tear over time. Eventually, the weak spot will give way and make contact with the nerve, causing pain. Read more…

Piriformis Syndrome

The piriformis muscle is located behind your gluteus maximus in your buttocks. If you have piriformis syndrome, this small muscle spasms and irritates your sciatic nerve where the nerve passes through your hip, and causes pain, tingling and weakness that may travel all the way down to your foot. Read more…

Pregnancy Back Pain

It’s not just the extra weight of carrying a baby that causes pregnancy back pain. Increasing hormones, muscle separation, and changes in a woman’s center of gravity also play a role. Learn simple tips to prevent back pain during pregnancy. Read more…

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Your sacroiliac (SI) joints, the points where your spine meets your pelvis, are located at the two “dimples” in your lower back. Wear and tear can cause the cartilage in these joints to become damaged. That can lead to your bones rubbing together, which causes pain. Read more…

Sciatica

Most people think of sciatica as a pain running down the back of the leg. That’s not incorrect, but it’s important to note sciatica is not a condition in and of itself, but rather a symptom of another condition. That’s why it’s so important to determine the underlying cause so that you can get the right treatment. Read more…

Scoliosis

A normal spine forms a straight vertical line when viewed from the front or the back. People with scoliosis have spines with a lateral, or sideways, curve. Those affected with scoliosis may experience back pain or may tire easily during activities that require excessive chest and stomach movement. Read more…

Somatic Pain and Your Back

Somatic pain occurs when the pain receptors either on the surface of the body or in the musculoskeletal tissues inside the body activate. When it occurs in the musculoskeletal tissues, it is called deep somatic pain. Frequently, the tensions of everyday life – being a slave to your smartphone, dealing with kids, bosses, a spouse, etc. – can produce muscle fatigue and soreness that can make you susceptible to somatic back pain. Read more…

Spinal Infection (Osteomyelitis)

Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone, usually caused by a type of staph bacteria. Although it’s relatively rare, there are certain underlying conditions that can increase your risk of developing a spinal infection. These include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and long-term steroid use, among others. Read more…

Spinal Fractures and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is one of the leading causes of spinal fractures. If left untreated, spinal fractures can lead to more fractures because the weight of the spinal column is no longer distributed evenly. Read more…

Spinal Tumor

Malignant spinal tumors, or spinal cancer, are almost almost metastatic. That means they have spread from another part of the body. Spinal tumors usually cause back pain that doesn’t go away with rest or typical treatments. Read more…

Spinal Stenosis

Stenosis of the spine can be a painful and debilitating problem that’s most often seen in people over the age of 40. It can develop in both the cervical (upper) and the lumbar (lower) areas of the spine. It’s a narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on the spinal cord. It can also be a narrowing of the area where the nerve exits the spinal column. Read more…

Spondylolisthesis

This condition occurs when two vertebrae slip or slide over one another to produce an abnormal positioning of two or more vertebrae in relation to each other along the spinal column. Spondylolisthesis is categorized into different types, each of which has five grades of severity. Read more…

Sports Injuries and Back Pain

Participating in sports and other outdoor activities is a great way to stay healthy, but also increases your risk of injury. Learn the most common types of sports injuries and the best prevention and treatment methods. Read more…

Types of Pain

The first step in treating your pain is being able to identify it. From dull, lingering pain to stabbing pain, learn the seven most common types of pain and how to “examine” your pain so that you can find the most suitable treatment. Read more…

Tension Headaches

The most common type of headache, tension headaches affect 9 out of 10 adults at some point in their lives. The root cause for these types of headaches is tense muscles in your neck, shoulders, upper back, scalp and jaw. A few simple corrective steps can usually provide quick relief — and can also prevent them from coming back. Read more…

Upper Back Pain

The upper back and neck is the most complex area of your body. That’s because of the number of joints in the region and how those joints work together. If you have upper back pain, it can affect your ability to perform even the most basic daily tasks, like brushing your teeth or driving a car. Read more…

Vertebral Compression Fracture

A compression fracture occurs after a vertebra softens and gradually becomes malformed. If additional internal or external forces are applied, the bone will weaken and crack. The number one cause of vertebral compression fractures is osteoporosis, but they can also be caused by trauma. Read more…

Whiplash Pain

Whiplash is an injury to the ligaments, muscles and tendons (soft tissue) in your neck and is usually a result of injury (like a car accident, falls, assault, sports, etc). Whiplash usually occurs when the neck is thrust forward or backward in an awkward forceful motion that exceeds the neck’s normal range of motion. Read more…

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