: Back pain affects many people at some time in their lives. It comes in many forms, from lower back pain, middle back pain, upper back pain to low back pain with sciatica (pain along the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down the legs).
Common back pain causes include nerve and muscular problems, degenerative disc disease and arthritis. Most back pain is caused by inflammation and lasts for two weeks to three months. However, back pain can be a sign of a serious medical problem.
Typical warning signs of a potentially life-threatening problem are bladder or bowel incontinence and progressive weakness in the legs. Severe back pain interrupting sleep with other signs of severe illness such as fever and weight loss may also indicate a serious underlying medical condition.
It's quite common to get backache in pregnancy. If you're pregnant, you may not want to take painkillers, but there are other ways of easing the discomfort.
Back pain that occurs after a trauma such as a car accident or a fall may indicate bone fracture or other injury. Back pain in individuals with medical conditions that put them at high risk for a spinal fracture, such as osteoporosis, also warrants prompt medical attention.
Back pain in individuals with a history of cancer especially cancers known as likely to spread to the spine like breast, lung and prostate cancer should be evaluated to rule out metastatic disease of the spine. Metastasis is the process when cancer spreads from the place at which it first arose as a primary tumour to distant locations in the body.
Back pain in most cases gets better on its own, however, if you are worried or finding it difficult to cope with the pain you should visit your doctor.