Spine Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Risks, Complications, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

A men who holding his back because he suffer from spine pain


The spine acts as the support of our body. It is made up of bone, cartilage, tendons and sensory nerves that send signals to the brain. Spinal pain occurs when there is a deformity in the anatomical structure, increased pressure in the back or an outside force like a back injury happen. Many people have experienced back pain in their life and some even require treatment from a specialist.


The spine pain may vary from mild to the severe sensation on the back this include:

Limited range of motion

The pain felt on the back may have an impact on the movement of the person. The nerves can be a factor contributing to the limited range of motion on the back.

Muscle ache

Muscles on the back are put under a lot of stress. The continuous use and overwork can result in the wear and tear of the muscles on the back this will cause pain. Treatments are available to relieve pain like pain relievers and physical therapy.

Shooting or stabbing pain

Sharp pain is felt when nerves or the muscles are compressed or strained. It may be felt on the upper back or even radiates on the neck or legs of the person.

Pain that radiates down your leg

The sciatic nerve runs down the base of the spine through the buttock and down to the legs. When this nerve is compressed, the pain will be felt on the lower back down to the legs and this can limit the movement of the lower portion of the body.


Numerous factors can cause spine pain from the deviation of the normal form of the spine, injury or degenerative diseases are several examples that cause pain:


A degenerative disease that involves the bones especially the spine. As the person ages, it loses the minerals found in the bone like the calcium. The bone density will decrease in time thus putting the person at risk for injury and pain.

Degenerative disc disease

The disc found in between the spine acts as the cushion when there is a force introduced in the body. When this disc degenerates is causes the bones to rub against each other and that can damage the bones and causes pain when moving or carrying heavy objects.

Slipped Discs

In between the bones in the spine, some spaces protect the nerves and also acts as a protection against the outside force. Sometimes this disk will come out of the alignment and can cause pain, this usually caused by overwork and results to wear and tear of the discs. When this happens the nerves will be impeded and that causes pain on the back.

Spinal Stenosis

Within the spine, there is a canal that contains the nerves and spinal fluid. When this canal narrows, the nerves in the spine will be compressed and causes numbing and pain sensation on the lower back and can also goes down the legs. This is common among elderly patients ages 60 and above.

Bulging Discs

A part of the disk is protruding, it is similar to herniated discs but the symptoms of this is not noticeable.


It involves a bone in the spine that goes out of the alignment. This happens when the bones are brittle, this is connected to the degenerative form of the disease which is arthritis. If the bone gets weaker it can slip forward.


The inflammation and swelling in the joints cause pain on the back, this can affect the bones and joints in the body, for example, Ankylosing spondylitis is one type of arthritis that affects the spine.


An abnormal growth in the spine is usually caused by cancer that metastasized into the spine.


An abnormal curvature of the spine that is usually seen on a person’s stature. Pain can be felt due to the pressure added to the body to maintain its center of gravity.


It is an infection of the spine including the spaces and the discs.

Injuries to the spine can cause pain like fractures and strains involving the spine and the surrounding muscles and tendons.

Fractures are the break on the bone, in this situation, the spine. Some factors can contribute to the injury like a fall or have a degenerative bone disease

4Risk Factors

Several factors can contribute to having back pain or even spinal pain.


Elderly patients tend to have a higher risk of having spinal pain because of the composition of their bones. The minerals in the bones decrease and can affect the posture and strength of the bone.

Improper nutrition

People should have a well-balanced diet to satisfy the needs of the body especially the bones

Family history

The family history of having cancer can have a chance that they may have it too.


People who have arthritis on the other parts of the body can be a contributing factor too.


Complications may not start abruptly but serious complications will be apparent if not treated immediately. The spine contains nerves that are connected throughout the organs in the body that controls the movement and the different functions in the body.

If the spinal pain is not addressed properly these organs can be affected and can potentially lose their functions organs included are:

Respiratory problems

The nerves that are being constructed in the spinal canal can be life-threatening.
Breathing patterns will be affected if the nerves in the spine are impeded.

Bladder and bowel control

There will be a loss of control in the bladder and digestive system. This can cause infections, especially in the urinary system.

Loss of sensation in the skin or other parts of the body

There is a loss of sensation on the skin, especially the distal parts.

Loss of muscle tone

Loss of muscle tone is due to inability to move freely at will it can also cause muscle spasms.


Consultation with the physician can help the person suffering from spinal pain and can give proper treatment. The doctor will do a thorough physical assessment and asks questions related to the pain you are having. Having a spinal pain can cause life-threatening conditions, so immediate diagnosis is a must. Ways to diagnose a patient are:

Blood tests

This can help determine if there are any infection occurring in the body that may cause pain on the back. Presence of increased level of white blood cells can signify that there is an infection.

X-ray and MRI

X-ray can shoe images of the bones including the spine. It can let us see the alignment and the condition of the spine whether you have a fracture or a degenerative disease.

MRI o Magnetic Resonance Imaging allows the doctor to see the spinal cord and its surrounding tissues and muscles.


This can confirm whether the patient has problems with the nerves in the spine. The test measures the impulses of the nerves and this can help determine the difference between a slipped disc and a spinal stenosis.

Bone scan

This will help determine if there are any abnormal bone growth in the spine, tumors or fractures.


Back pain may indicate stresses muscles or an injury on the back. The proper consultation will be the first step to better treatment. If the doctor determines that it is a muscle strain that is causing the pain there are ways to manage it like avoid stress, use proper body mechanics and the like. If the pain is on the spine itself, medications can be used as a treatment like

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like are used to inhibit the chemical COX enzyme that is causing the inflammation on the spinal cord, it can also reduce the swelling. Take medication as directed by the doctor to avoid side effects of the drug.

Injections of cortisone can be given for the relief of pain. It is considered if the patient is having episodes of pain on the back and travels down to the legs.

Antibiotic is used to treat infections in the body including in the spine.

Home remedies

  • Bed rest during the episodes of pain, it usually takes 1 to 2 days before the body can recover from pain
  • Exercise to strengthen the muscles to prevent injury. Proper body mechanics when working can help reduce pain and stress on the back.
  • Balanced diet to have proper nutrients in the body, deficiency of vitamins and minerals in the body can increase the risk of having this condition
  • Use of brace to correct the alignment of the spine.
  • Use of therapeutic bed to support the body when lying down

Physical therapy

It can help reduce pain by having various treatments applied onto the back like heat, muscle massage and the use of electrical impulses to help the nerves recover from damage or injury caused by the compression.


It is required if the patient suffers from chronic pain accompanied by numbness of the legs and muscle wasting and weakness, this means that the condition of the patient is worsening. Immediate surgery is to be done to prevent further damage to the nerves. Corrective alignment of the spine is also done to severe scoliosis and also surgery is used to treat the fractured spine.


Spinal pain can be reduced or avoided by having a good posture at all times, have proper body mechanics when lifting or pulling a heavy object. Exercise daily to build muscles and strengthen the back, it can also help maintain the proper weight of the person.