What Are the Different Types of Back Pain That Exist Today

What Are the Different Types of Back Pain That Exist Today?

Even the word back pain can send a shiver down people’s spines. Anyone who has experienced back pain knows how debilitating it can be. And a lot of people experience back pain, with an estimated 16 million adults experiencing chronic back pain in the US alone.

There are various causes and types of back pain. A lot of back pain relates to your overall health and wellbeing. However, if you are experiencing back pain, how can you return to optimal health fast?

One of the best ways to treat back pain is to understand the types of back pain so that you can seek the right back pain therapy. A medical physician will be able to give you the right diagnosis. However, here are some of the common types of back pain to get started.

Extension Dominant Back Pain

This type of back pain can be hard to identify because it can come and go. There is not always a set pattern to identify. However, common signs you have extension dominant back pain include:

  • Stiffness in back
  • Pain in the middle or lower back
  • Pain relief when sitting or bending
  • Back pain after intense exercise
  • Tingling or numbness in legs

This type of back pain is experienced in the Zygopophysheal joints (z-joints).  Usually, you will have more pain after exercise or prolonged periods of standing. Common causes of this type of back pain include arching your lower back and having poor hip mobility.

Neurogenic Claudication is a type of extension dominant back pain that older individuals can experience, who are usually over sixty years old. The symptoms are similar to extension dominant back pain but also include no symptoms when sitting and leaning over to prevent leg symptoms.

Treatment usually includes acupuncture, pelvic tilt training, and rest.

Flexion Dominant Back Pain

Usually, flexion dominant back pain is caused by a disc injury. However, factors such as poor posture, which 80% of Americans have, can worsen symptoms. Symptoms include:

  • Spine and/or leg pain
  • Pain relief after walking or standing
  • Leg weakness
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Loss of motion
  • Worsening of symptoms when sitting, bending, and lifting

Back pain therapy usually involves seeing a physical therapist who will advise on the best stretches to maintain spinal mobility and reduce pain. You may also need hands-on therapy to help relieve pain and restore spinal mobility. You can also receive core and hip strength training, proper lifting techniques, and correct posture training.

Inflammatory Back Pain

Inflammatory back pain is one of the types of back pain that is often misdiagnosed. It is caused by inflammation in your spinal joints, caused by the immune system attacking them.

There are different causes of inflammatory back pain, including ankylosing spondylitis. Spondylitis can often impact young adults who have had a growth spurt and are athletic. However, it can also impact those who have osteoporosis and other issues.

Signs of inflammatory back pain include:

  • Pain lasts for more than three months
  • Pain relief after exercise
  • Worsening of pain after immobility
  • Pain in patients under 35 years old when there is no other cause

Usually, treatment includes the temporary use of anti-inflammatory medication such as NSAIDs. Your medical physician will also advise specific treatments, such as exercise programs and physiotherapist treatment. Treatment is all about managing flare-ups and finding pain relief.

Chronic Pain Disorders

There are a variety of chronic pain disorders that can cause back pain. Often, there is no organic cause for the pain, but it is as real as it is for those suffering from a mechanical injury. Symptoms can include:

  • Worsening pain with episodes of anxiety or depression
  • No clear pain pattern
  • Does not follow anatomic boundaries
  • It can be in different parts of the body

Usually, treatment involves physiotherapists, and other healthcare professionals, such as those specializing in mental health. You will have an assessment with back pain specialists, such as those at neurosurgeryone.com, to rule out other conditions. You may need mental health support to rule out any mental health issues worsening the pain.


Sciatica is a type of radicular pain, which conditions such as herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis can cause. Sciatica can manifest with leg pain or back pain, with its origin being around the gluteal area. Symptoms of sciatic in the back include:

  • Moderate to severe lower back pain
  • Tingling or numbness in legs and feet
  • Worsening of pain with movement
  • Numbness and weakness in lower back, glutes, legs, and feet

Sciatic pain occurs when your sciatic nerve is pinched due to issues such as herniated disc or overgrowth of spinal bone. Treatment usually includes stretches, over-the-counter medicines, and ice and heat therapy. These types of treatments can reduce the muscle spasms often associated with sciatica.

Muscle Strains and Sprains

One of the most common lower back pain types is muscle strains and sprains. Usually, muscle strains and sprains are to do with overuse. Symptoms can include:

  • Muscle cramping and spasms
  • Decreased mobility
  • Pain that worsens when you move

Usually, this type of back pain will disappear within a few days or up to four weeks. However, you must follow back pain therapy advice to avoid further damaging your back and being left with chronic issues. Treatment usually includes rest, stretching, strength exercises, pain medication, cold therapy, and massage.

Referred Back Pain

There are many different types of referred pain. Referred pain can cause pain in the back or different parts of your body, depending on the origin. A common type of pain is in the upper back, which can come from muscle tightness, but is also referred neck pain.

Treat the Types of Back Pain

It can be helpful to know the types of back pain, so you can take action fast and receive the help you need. Back pain can cause much physical and mental pain, so it is important to remember you are not alone; there is help out there.

If you are experiencing back pain, visit a medical physician who can identify the cause of back pain and refer to a specialist or the right treatment.

Did you like this article? Check out our other health and wellbeing posts to ensure you maintain optimal health.

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