8 Most Common Causes of Back Pain

South Texas Spinal Clinic, chronic back pain

Because your back is a complex structure of ligaments, muscles, joints, and bones, it ’s particularly vulnerable to a range of injuries. While anyone can develop back pain at any time, several factors can increase your risk, including:

The experienced team at South Texas Spinal Clinic has extensive experience treating a wide range of back and neck problems, including these eight leading causes of pain.

Sprains and strains

Sprains and strains are common injuries when you fall, use poor body mechanics, or experience car accidents. These painful injuries affect the ligaments, tendons, or muscles in your back. A sprain describes an injury to a ligament supporting your spine. When you hurt a muscle or tendon in your back, it’s called a strain. Your tendons connect your muscles to bone.

Herniated, bulging, or ruptured discs

Your discs are the rubbery cushions between each of the vertebrae in your spine. These discs act as shock absorbers, and each one contains a soft center surrounded by a tough exterior.

When you have a herniated, bulging, or ruptured disc, this soft center pushes out of the tough exterior and can compress a nerve root in your spine. Herniated and bulging discs are often the result of wear and tear on your body associated with degenerative disc disease.

Degenerative disc disease

Also known as disc degeneration, this a common age-related source of spinal problems. As you grow older, several changes occur in your body on a cellular level, including declining moisture in your intervertebral discs.

As these rubbery cushions grow drier, their shape and height can change, reducing nerve passageways in your spine. These changes in your discs can upset the delicate balance in your spine and lead to chronic back pain.

Slipped discs

Also known as degenerative spondylolisthesis, this painful back condition develops when one of your vertebrae shifts out of position. Slipped discs are often associated with the aging process when your spinal bones, joints, and ligaments grow weaker and can no longer hold your spine in proper alignment.


Osteoarthritis is a joint disease associated with aging and wear and tear on your joints. This condition occurs when the cartilage in your discs between the joints of your spine and vertebrae begins to deteriorate. Cartilage is a connective tissue that cushions your bones and joints.  Without cartilage, your bones rub against each other and swelling, inflammation, stiffness, and pain develop.

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis describes the narrowing of your spinal canal. This condition can compress or restrict your spinal cord and nerve roots causing pain, weakness, or numbness in your back or legs, especially after walking. Spinal stenosis is often due to osteoarthritis of the spinal column and disc degeneration.

Compression fracture from osteoporosis

Osteoporosis describes the thinning and weakening of your bones. These changes in bone density leave you at higher risk of fractures and broken bones, especially in the spine. When you have osteoporosis, you can sustain painful compression fractures in your vertebrae from lifting heavy objects and even coughing or sneezing.

Spinal cord injury

This type of back pain occurs when you sustain damage to ligaments, discs, vertebrae, or your spinal cord. These types of injuries can be due to sudden, traumatic blows as well as non-traumatic causes, like arthritis or disc degeneration.


For more information on common causes of back pain and ways to find relief, call South Texas Spinal Clinic or schedule an appointment online today.

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