Causes of Back Pain
Acquired Conditions and Diseases
Many medical problems can cause or contribute to back pain, which include:
- Scoliosis, which causes curvature of the spine. Back pain as a result of scoliosis does not usually appear until mid-life.
- Spondylolisthesis, which occurs when a stress fracture weakens the bone so much that it is unable to maintain its proper position and the vertebrae start to shift out of place.
- Spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. (Click Spinal Stenosis for more information about this condition.)
While osteoporosis itself is not painful, it can lead to painful fractures of the vertebrae. Other causes of back pain include:
Infections and Tumors
In rare cases, infections and tumors can cause back pain when they involve the vertebrae, such as:
- A condition called osteomyelitis
- Discitis, which involves the discs that cushion the vertebrae
- Tumors that begin in the back, but more often they appear in the back as a result of cancer that has spread from elsewhere in the body.
Although back pain causes are usually physical, it is important to note that emotional stress can play a role in how severe back pain is and how long it lasts. Stress can affect the body in many ways, including causing back muscles to become tense and painful.