Back ache commonly arises in the lower back (or lumbar spine) but can also occur, less commonly, in the middle to upper back (thoracic spine). Aching in the lower back can arise from;
- prolonged poor posture
- osteoporosis and subsequent spinal fracture
- spinal fracture from injury
- bony structural weakening from long term medication, e.g. corticosteroids
- spinal infection e.g. bony abscess
- ankylosing spondylitis
- cauda equina syndrome as a result of spinal canal stenosis usually arising from a herniated disc
- other causes.
Upper back ache shares similar causes as lower back ache except for sciatica and cauda equina syndrome which are specific to the lower back. More commonly poor posture and muscular strains are to blame.
Treatment is mainly causative condition specific but symptoms can be generally managed non-surgically using preventative measures such as postural improvements, maintaining a healthy weight, exercise programmes, and, where symptoms have arisen, continuing with general daily activities, topical heat treatments and systemic anti-inflammatory medication.
This information is for general educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a healthcare professional. The information should not be relied upon to make decisions about your health. Always consult your family doctor or pharmacist about your individual circumstances.