Understanding the 5 Common Types of Back Pain

If you recently had to lie curled up in bed, unable to move, do you remember the reason? Was it a pulled muscle? Ribs? Lower back?

Back pain is a nuisance that just about every person has to deal with at some point in their life. But understanding the different types of back pain can help you determine the underlying cause and prevent further injury.

So whether you’re suffering yourself or simply interested in helping out others, let’s dive into the different types of back pain and the causes behind them.

1. Flexion Dominant Back Pain

It is caused by excessive and prolonged flexion of the spine, which can be due to poor posture, wrong ergonomics, or a lack of movement/stretching. Symptoms of flexion-dominant back pain can include localized tenderness and stiffness, burning or sharp pains radiating down the spine and surrounding areas, and difficulty in bending or extending the spine.

Proper physical therapy, exercise, posture, and ergonomic correction are necessary in order to properly treat and reduce the symptoms of flexion-dominant back pain. 

2. Extension Dominant Back Pain

Extension-dominant back pain is a type of lower back pain that is primarily caused by underlying extension movements. It is caused by an imbalanced relationship between flexion and extension movements in the back.

It can also be self-inflicted due to repetitive extension postures, such as sitting at a desk all day or playing a sport that requires continual extension movements, such as golf. 

3. Neurogenic Claudication Back Pain

This type of back pain occurs when the nerve roots that come out of the spinal cord become pinched, causing a lack of blood flow to the legs. Symptoms typically include weakness, numbness, and shooting pains in the buttocks, legs, and feet.

Treatment for neurogenic claudication back pain often includes physical therapy, NSAIDs, steroid injections, or even surgery. These treatments are aimed at back muscle pain relief, which is typically caused by a herniated disc or stenosis of the vertebrae. 

4. Inflammatory Back Pain

Symptoms of inflammatory back pain may be similar to other types of back pain. This includes pain when bending, lifting, or sitting for long periods of time. However, specific distinguishing features of inflammatory back pain can include increased pain when resting, redness or warmth on the skin along the spine, and/or localized swelling.

Treatment options vary depending on the cause and severity of the inflammatory back pain but typically include rest, physical therapy, or back pain medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids. 

5. Chronic Pain Back Pain

Chronic back pain is a common type of pain. This can be caused by injury, overuse, repetitive activities, poor posture, or even a medical condition. Chronic back pain can be persistent. This may interfere with everyday activities.

It is often characterized by chronic stiffness, aching, and sometimes shooting pain that may be centered in the lower back. Common locations where chronic back pain may occur include the lower, mid, and upper back, as well as the neck, tailbone, and shoulders.

Learn More About Types of Back Pain

Types of back pain can range from mild to severe and have many different causes. Learning more about your type of back pain can help guide you in the right direction for managing and treating your pain.

Talk to your back pain doctor about your symptoms and explore alternative treatments to reduce your back pain. Taking control of your own health care can help you feel empowered and improve your quality of life.

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