Back pain is a musculoskeletal disorder caused by injury or stress to the spine and/or the joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles that support the spinal cord. Pain type and severity can range from mild pain that is dull and throbbing to debilitating pain that is sharp and stabbing. It can affect the upper back and neck, middle back, and lower back, as well as the extremities – this happens when a nerve is pinched or compressed. The causes also vary greatly, from acute injury and age degeneration to inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Back pain is often temporary and can be relieved by over the counter (OTC) anti-inflammatories, pain relievers, and rest, but it can also be chronic (lasting over three months). While anyone can suffer back pain, it is more common in middle-aged to elderly adults. Back pain is the most common cause of disability and visits to the doctor for pain in the United States today.
If you are suffering back pain and it has been longer than a few days, consult your physician. A sudden injury to your back should always be evaluated by a doctor right away. Your doctor is the best resource for the diagnosis and treatment of back pain.