Back and neck pain overview (2023)

Neck and back pain are unpleasant sensations in one or more areas of the neck, middle and upper back, or lower back. Back pain can be caused by many causes and can cause symptoms in other parts of the body.

Back and neck pain overview (1)

Back pain is very common; Up to 80% of the population experiences low back pain at some point in their lives. Low back pain is about twice as common as back pain.Neck painand lower back pain is as common as knee pain.


There are many ways to describe back or neck pain, and the description often includes specific sensations, timing, and factors that worsen or relieve the pain.

Some of them are:

  • muscle contracture
  • cramps
  • Throbbing pain
  • Pain radiating to the leg
  • Pins and needles
  • leg numbness
  • Neck or back dysfunction (i.e. inability to stand upright or turn the neck)
  • The pain increases with activity.
  • The pain subsides when you lie down
  • Back or neck stiffness
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

Pain that started recently or suddenly is defined as acute, while pain that lasts more than three to six months is defined as chronic or persistent pain. Acute and chronic pain are usually treated differently.


The location of back and neck pain depends on the specific area of ​​the spine that is affected.

Back pain can occur in the following areas:

  • Neckconsists of 7cervical vertebra. It is defined as the part of the spine that extends from just below the base of the skull (which is approximately level with the bottom of the earlobe) to the top of the first thoracic vertebra.
  • Zmiddle and high backrestit runs from just below the seventh cervical vertebra to the bottom of the 12th thoracic vertebra, which is roughly aligned with the tenth rib (third from the bottom).
  • lower backis the corresponding arealumbar spine, which starts below the 12th thoracic vertebra and extends to the top of the sacrum, which is almost halfway between the two halves of the pelvis.
  • Sacroiliac in coccyx painIt mainly takes the form of dysfunction of the sacroiliac joint. The tailbone is your tailbone. It is the last bone of the spine; it is attached to the lower part of the sacrum.

How to describe back pain to a doctor


There are many causes of back and neck pain. Sometimes you have more than one cause.

Habits and aging

Degenerative changes in the structures of the spine occur due to wear and tear over time. It is a common cause of chronic back and neck pain.These can lead to spinal cord injury.osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and possibly spinal stenosis.

osteoporosisIt is a disease that results from thinning of the bones and can lead to vertebral compression fractures.

expansion injury

An accident or injury can cause severe neck and back pain due to a herniated disc, muscle sprain, ligament strain, spinal fracture, or spinal cord injury.

structural problems

The discs that protect the vertebrae may rupture or bulge (herniated) and may put pressure on the vertebrae.spinal nerves. Spinal nerve irritation isradiculopathyand may cause pain, weakness, numbness and/or an electrical sensation along an arm or leg.

Arthritis (degenerative) changes in the spine such ashypertrophy of the intervertebral joint, spinal stenosis, and bone spurs can also cause these symptoms.

Genetic and congenital disorders

Genetic and congenital causes can also cause neck and back pain. An example of a congenital spinal defect is spina bifida.Scheuermann's kyphosis, a deformity that affects some teenagers, is another example of a genetic disease of the spine.

system problems

Less commonly, neck or back pain is caused by systemic problems such as inflammatory diseases, infections, tumors, or cysts.Your diagnostics may include tests to look for signs of a systemic problem, especially if you have risk factors for these conditions.

Risk factors

You may be at increased risk of neck or back pain if any of the following apply:

  • You are a woman
  • Ifoverweight or obese
  • Tytorre
  • you have osteoporosis
  • You move too much or too little

Other risk factors include low educational attainment, living in an urban area, age under 50 (for neck pain) and under 65 (for low back pain), high stress levels, and emotional problems (anxiety or depression).

Factors at work also play a role in the risk of neck and back pain. If you are dissatisfied with your job, do not receive support from co-workers or bosses, or if your job involves exposure to vibrations in your body (e.g. associated pain. Office workers are more likely to experience neck pain than other workers.


During the neck pain assessment, your healthcare provider will review your medical history and conduct a surveyphysical exam.

Imaging diagnostics, e.gX-rays and sometimes magnetic resonance imaging (NMR)it may be necessary. However, this complete examination can be an unnecessary expense if not justified.

Interestingly, a study published in 2016permanent journalfound that those with public insurance were more likely to have a spinal MRI than those without insurance or private insurance.

Blood testthis can be done to look for evidence of systemic disease.

Electromyography (EMG)Nerve tests may be done if there is concern about muscle or nerve disorders.

bot scansThis can be done to look for suspected compression fractures or bumps.


For acute back pain, the general guidelines are to continue with your normal activities as much as possible. over-the-counter painkillersand placing heat on the back (such as a heating pad) may provide relief. If it doesn't improve within a few weeks, or if the type of back pain warrants it, your doctor may recommend other forms of treatment.

Prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).by onemuscle relaxantcould be suggested. is alsotopical painkillersthat you can apply to the area where you feel pain.

short course inarcotic painkillersthey can be tried for severe acute pain, but they don't work well for chronic pain. This type of medication carries the risk of addiction. The possibility of addiction and other side effects (such as constipation) should be considered before taking a prescription or medication.

A 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis found that the majority of people taking narcotic painkillers (also known as opioids) for back pain did not get "clinically relevant pain relief" in the dose range studied. The review/meta-analysis concludes that people who tolerate opioids may get "small, short-term relief" at most, and that there is really no evidence of long-term pain relief.

antidepressantsThey have been shown to help relieve some forms of chronic back pain.

cortisone injectionsnear the area of ​​pain can help reduce inflammation around the nerve roots or inflamed area, which can bring relief.

spine surgeryit is rarely needed to treat back pain and has poor results when done to treat back pain. It is most commonly used to correct severe spinal stenosis or a herniated disc that has not been successfully treated by any other means. In general, research recommends testingphysiotherapyfollowed by further conservative treatment.

very good word

While neck and back pain is rarely life-threatening, it can be quite irritating and in some cases severely disrupt your quality of life for long periods of time. That said, most cases appear to be minor episodes from which people recover by modifying their activities and undergoing conservative treatment. Whether you've pinched your back or are in constant pain, it pays to take an active role in your care. Work with your doctor to make sure you're getting the right physical therapy and treatment.

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