What causes back pain

Back pain

Over 60 percent of women in Germany complain of regular back pain, and there are many different reasons for pulling in the back or a tense neck. The main cause of back pain is usually an impairment of the musculoskeletal system.

In most cases, the pain in the lower spine occurs at the transition to the sacrum, the so-called lower back pain. Lower back pain is pain in the back area below the costal arch and above the buttocks. Often no clear reason for the complaints can be found. In this case, experts speak of non-specific low back pain. There is then no evidence of a dangerous cause, such as damage to the intervertebral discs or a vertebral fracture.

Non-specific lower back pain is usually harmless and goes away on its own. In a small proportion of those affected, however, the symptoms do not subside and the symptoms can become "chronic". Chronic low back pain can have many causes. Psychological stress and mental illnesses as well as unfavorable behavior can also contribute to permanent complaints.

These include, for example:

  • Depression, stress, or anxiety
  • wrong protection and avoidance behavior, but also persistent perseverance
  • hard physical work or a one-sided posture
  • Bullying, job dissatisfaction, or unemployment
  • Smoking, obesity, alcohol and poor physical fitness

The most common causes of back pain include a lack of exercise, tense muscles or drafts, which disrupt the interaction between bones, ligaments, intervertebral discs, muscles and nerves.

It is important to keep moving even with back pain, because moderate movement strengthens the back muscles, lubricates the joints and massages the intervertebral discs. This is important for a healthy back. Muscles, vertebrae, intervertebral discs, joints and ligaments must work together perfectly so that the back can move and function well. Bed rest, on the other hand, is harmful because it can make the symptoms worse.

In addition, it also plays a role how someone deals with pain, how it is perceived and whether it is viewed as threatening. This also influences the course of the disease. In the case of non-specific low back pain, it is not absolutely necessary to find the cause. Constantly dealing with the pain and trying to find an explanation can actually have a negative effect on the discomfort.

In a maximum of 15% of those affected, the structure of the spine is permanently damaged or impaired. Possible causes include:

  • a herniated disc (disc prolapse) or a protruding disc (disc protrusion)
  • Vertebral sliding (spondylisthesis)
  • Narrowness of the spinal canal (spinal canal stenosis)
  • Spinal instability
  • Inflammation, a pinched nerve, or a tumor.