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  • Writer's pictureAdam Whatley

What are the different types of back pain?

The intensity and manageability of different types of back pain are very different for every person. For example, one person with a disc herniation, will feel different symptoms than somebody with a ligament injury or a muscle strain.

Your back has to deal with many various strong forces throughout the day, such as bending, over compression, twisting, jolts, or poor posture. Any of your spinal structures are capable of becoming irritated or injured - producing back pain. Comments spinal areas are:

- Large muscles that support the spine

- Spinal nerves that exit the spinal cord

- Spinal ligaments that stabilised spinal joints

- Facet joints that connect the vertebrae segments

- Intervertebral discs that provide shock-absorption

How do I find out what is causing my back pain?

It can be quiet difficult to distinguish what is causing your back pain. For example, a disc injury may feel similar to an arthritic facet joint due to their close proximity. In some cases, exiting nerve roots can be compressed or irritated by local structures, and can then give pain in referred locations to the irritated area.

During a consultation a thorough case history will be taken to discuss your symptoms, and conduct a physical exam in order to accurately diagnose the cause of back pain. Sometimes diagnostic tests—such as X-rays, MRI scans, are needed to try and diagnostically confirm the underlying cause of pain.

Where is your pain coming from?

Local mechanical pain, is confined to one location. It can be described as sharp or dull, intermittent, constant, or throbbing. A muscle strain is a common cause of axial back pain as are spinal articular facet joints and tears in discs.

Referred pain. Often presents as dull and achy, referred pain tends to move around and vary in intensity. Also, this can cause static pain and discomfort. As an example in the lower spine, degenerative discs or spinal joints may cause referred pain to the shoulder, hips and/or thighs.

Radicular pain. Commonly described as electric shock-like, radicular pain, or in fact a constant dull ache that follows the path of the spinal nerve as it exits the spine. This type of pain is caused by compression and/or inflammation to a spinal nerve root. In the lower back, radicular pain may travel into the leg and foot, sometimes it can also cause pins and needles. This is commonly known as sciatica. It can be caused by conditions such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis (narrowing), spinal degeneration, or spondylolisthesis (slippage of one vertebra and another).

It is important to reach them accurate diagnosis for your back pain so an effective treatment plan can begin.


Don’t let back pain, joint damage, sports injuries or arthritis get in the way of allowing you to do what you want. Schedule a consultation at Dynamic Osteopaths today, and let us treat your injury, provide pain relief and get you back to your full and active lifestyle. We have clinics operating out of Solihull (Henley-In-Arden), Birmingham (Harborne/edgbaston) & Bromsgrove (Barnt Green).

Call us today 01564 330773

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