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Back Ailments & Pain Guide

Your back, spine, and torso, in general, are the sections of your body that hold you together, making them propense to injuries or ailments due to how often they are used. You need your back for most of your daily activities, and it’s imperative that you keep it healthy making sure that it is constantly performing the way it should.

Because your back is such an important and massive section of your body, the pain can manifest itself in many different ways. You also have to consider that many nerves run through your spine, and therefore, a problem with your spine could result in having pain in some other parts of your body — that we might think are unrelated — that are connected through the nerve system, giving you the sensation of feeling pain in those other places.


Muscle ache

There are various muscle groups that run through your back that help stabilize your spine. The ache on your back muscles can be attributed to different factors, where overuse and injury are the most common, although there are more possible explanations that can make you feel discomfort.

You can pinpoint the causes of most muscle pains. The pain can be caused by stress, tensions, or physical activity with some of the common causes being:

  • The overuse of muscles during physical activity
  • Injuring the muscle while performing physically-demanding activities
  • Muscle tension affecting the muscles of the back
  • Skipping warmups and cooldowns during physical activity

While some muscle pain can be treated with rest, adequate exercise, or stretching, the persistent pain in your back muscles can mean more than just a simple and common problem. Here at The Spine Care Center in Manassas, we are equipped with all you need to determine the source of your pain, give you the right treatment, and point you in the right direction to avoid the problem from happening again in the future.

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Shooting or stabbing pain

Acute or sharp back pain can be attributed to other problems, some of them can be considered more serious than others. Back and spine pain can be related to problems with bones, discs, ligaments, or muscle groups.

Here are some problems that can create acute or sharp back pain:

Muscle spasm

A muscle spasm is related to the prolonged contraction or stiffness of the muscle, in this case of the back. These can be attributed to trauma or repetitive strain. The muscle spasms occur in order to protect your spine from further injury. The pain from the spasm can be felt in the lower and upper part of the spine

Herniated disc

A herniated disc can be the cause of acute pain. You can also find it by the name of bulging disc, ruptured disc, pinched nerve, or slipped disc. Some of the most common factors that cause herniated discs can be lifting heavy objects with improper posture or the overuse of your back without resting or warming up. Sciatica is often found to be a symptom of a herniated disc — it’s a sharp pain that shoots down through the buttock and into the leg.

Compression Fracture

The compression fracture relates to the fracture of vertebrae which are the smaller bones that compose the solid structure of the spine. These can be caused by an accident or a fall, in some cases due to osteoporosis, which attacks the structure of the bone and debilitates it, often causing massive pain.


At times, the vertebrae can become infected, which is known as osteomyelitis. The pain that originates from these infections are often accompanied by fevers and other symptoms.

The many causes of back pain can be confused with other problems that we may have. That’s why you need a professional to look into your case to make sure that all the right steps are taken into consideration when diagnosing the source of your pain. The experts at The Spine Care Center in Manassas know the paramount importance of being diagnosed within the right time frame to take actions and make sure you don’t suffer from the pain for longer than you already have.

Don't Suffer Longer Than You Already Have

The many causes for back pain can be confused with other problems that we may have. That’s why you need a professional to look into your case to make sure that all the right steps are taken into consideration when diagnosing the source of your pain. The experts at The Spine Care Center in Manassas know the paramount importance of being diagnosed within the right time frame to take actions and make sure you don’t suffer from the pain for longer than you already have.

Pain shooting down your leg

This pain often starts on your lower back and it shoots down your leg — down the sciatica nerves. The pain can be often caused by pressure on the sciatica nerve from a herniated disc, muscle strain, or bone spurs. You may feel a sharp pain, hindering some or many of your everyday tasks. Other times, it can be easily cared for by the person with the condition. There are two types of pain that are related to this condition, acute and chronic.

Acute pain is considered to have occurred suddenly and usually lasts from several days to weeks. It often heals without the need for intervention, following proper rest.

Chronic pain can be considered as pain that has persisted for more than three months while being hard to determine its causes. This pain can be linked to certain movements and can be felt often. Some factors that contribute to this can be, tissue scarring, arthritis, nerve damage, and others. People with chronic pain should look for the assistance of a medical professional that specializes in back and spine pain.

Pain that worsens with bending, lifting, standing, or walking

Back pain is far from rare and the percentage of people who suffer or will suffer from back or spine pain is very high. As stated previously, there are many symptoms that can help us pinpoint the pain, as well as a variety of causes that can injure our backs.

When that same back pain worsens from performing different activities that we often do, this could mean that your muscles, bones, or nerves might have a complication that increases the pain. In many cases, this can make us distrust our own movements for fear of damaging our back even further.

Your posture plays a big part in how your back reacts. When performing any of the activities mentioned above, the lack of good posture can heavily increase the pain because our backs are meant to work a certain way — use the wrong angle while lifting a heavy item and you will create stress in areas that either don’t need more stress or are not meant to sustain any amount of stress.

Other more specific causes can be attributed to sprains from overstretched ligaments, strains for exerting too much force on a muscle, degenerative disc disease (when the discs between vertebrae deteriorate), and spinal stenosis, which is when the space narrows in your spine and some nerves are compressed because of the lack of space.

Pain that improves with reclining

Sitting for long periods can affect your back in more than one way. Add a bad posture to it and you have the perfect combination to increase your pain. If your back pain gets better once you recline, this can mean that your current posture when standing and sitting might not be the best for you. There are other problems that can cause this problem and each one has its own particularity. 

It’s important to visit a professional to diagnose the problem and make sure that you are not making your pain worse by self-medicating or by following an online guide that was not meant for your body type or your exact condition. Here at The Spine Care Center in Manassas, we are proud of our team members who always work tirelessly to improve your lifestyle — there’s no better team to take care of your back problem than us!

Want to get rid of your back pain?


Different problems and factors can cause back or spine pain. Some pain may originate from performing the wrong movements or executing hard physical work without resting periods, or it can be the result of medical conditions that affect and deteriorate your bones, joints and ligaments, nerves, or muscles.

The back is composed of various muscle groups, discs, bones, ligaments, and tendons, all of which work together as a complex structure to support our bodies and allow us to move around. 

Here are some causes to better understand what different conditions can do to your back and spine.


Strains are considered stretchings or tearings that are caused by twisting or pulling a muscle or a tendon past its natural movement range. Strains are also considered to be acute or chronic where their symptoms can last from three to six weeks to longer than three months, respectively.

There are some activities that can cause strains to happen with ease and are the ones you should avoid or, in the case of needing to do it, request help from others:

  • Having improper posture when lifting
  • Making abrupt movements that don’t allow your muscles to adjust well before the harsh move is performed
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Improper stretching or overstretching with cold muscles
  • Moving awkward objects that would require you to have an unnatural position


Other conditions can affect the stability of your back and spine, which can lead to having pain and can even grow to become a much bigger problem than the pain itself.


Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis, affecting mainly older people, caused by chronic degeneration of the cartilage and synovial membrane of the joints, leading to pain and stiffness. This can affect the hips, lower back, spinal cord, and other areas.

Bulging Discs

Bulging disc is a common injury that can occur on the discs located between your vertebrae and can affect any section of your spine — lumbar spine, thoracic spine, and cervical spine.

This condition can affect nerves by putting pressure on them, making the pain more noticeable. These are also called slipped discs or protruding discs.

Ruptured Discs

Each disc between the vertebrae can be ruptured, which can generate more pressure on a nerve, resulting in back pain.


Osteoporosis is a degenerative condition that affects the bone structure, turning bones porous and brittle, which can, in turn, make the bones more prone to fracture from compression or injury.


This pain comes from pressure exerted on the sciatic nerve and it commonly creates a sensation that travels down the leg from the originating point.

Abnormal Spine Curvature

This condition can be seen in people with scoliosis, which is the side curvature of the spine. These abnormalities in the way the spine should be structured can result in painful back and spinal problems.


Kidney stones or infections can cause pain in the lower part of the back.

Our Spine Expert Specialities

Our surgeons recognize the importance of minimally invasive and minimally disruptive surgical procedures as they allow patients to return to work sooner. By focusing on minimizing muscle trauma, we can help patients recover sooner than traditional surgical procedures allow.

Posture & Movement

Posture plays a big part in back and spinal health. Posture is a simple aspect that can turn into something more than just cosmetic, since good posture can dramatically reduce the levels of back pain and neck pain. Although, bad posture does not create immediate pain or discomfort, it can create a bigger problem by creating deviations in your spin which take time to readjust.

Sudden and harsh movements can also cause back pain. The abrupt motion can create problems on your back and spine which usually can last for a few days up to weeks.

Here are some examples:

  • Muscle tension
  • Over-stretching
  • Pushing, pulling, lifting, or carrying a heavy object
  • Twisting
  • Sleeping on a surface that does not support the natural body posture
  • Long sitting or driving sessions without any breaks
  • Standing for long periods
  • Coughing or sneezing

Other causes

Other medical conditions can cause back pain, such as:

  • Spine Cancer
  • Cauda equina syndrome
  • Spine Infections
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Shingles
  • Other Infections
    • Pelvic inflammatory disease
    • Bladder infection
    • Kidney Infection

Have your back moving the right way

Risk Factors

Back pain can affect anyone, from children to seniors — these problems don’t discriminate and can be suffered by all. There are, of course, plenty of factors that can increase the risk of having back pain, or increase the current pain.

Here are some factors that can increase the probabilities of having back problems and pain:

Lack of exercise

The lack of exercise can make your muscles and joints weaken, opening a path for an unsupported back, which can lead to back problems.


Our muscles and bones lose their strength with time, hence back problems and pain can be more common in older adults.


Extra body weight can put unnecessary stress on your joints, especially on your back.

Improper lifting techniques

When you use your back to lift instead of your legs, this could lead to problems with your back.


Arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis, and other degenerative diseases can contribute to back pain.


Smoking, aside from being a bad habit to have for all the implications it carries for your lungs, throat, and respiratory system in general, can also reduce the flow of blood to your lower spine. This causes your spine to not receive as many nutrients as it needs to keep it healthy. It can also slow down the general healing of your body.


There are many things you can do to prevent those back problems that can turn into pain. Improving your health conditions should be your main focus since its degradation can create a snowball effect on your body — your spine and back are more important than you think and play one of the biggest roles for walking and other movements.


Exercising is one of the overall cures for many of our body’s ailments. A healthy body starts with nutrition and continues to improve with a good exercise routine that can continue to improve your overall health. You might want to consider low-impact activities to avoid hurting other joints or adding stress to your joints. These activities can increase strength and endurance in your muscles, especially those on your back so your entire body can function properly. 

Swimming and walking are great options for low-impact exercises that can yield good results. Ask us at The Spine Care Center which activity you should be trying to start your journey for a healthier lifestyle that can lead to a better, healthier, and stronger back!

Also, building muscle strength and flexibility can dramatically improve your overall health. The increase in your core’s strength and abdominal muscles can create a sort of “corset” for your spine, keeping it stable and less prone to pain and ailments. If you pair this guidance with maintaining a healthy weight and not creating unnecessary stress on your body with the extra weight, then you should be heading the right direction to avoid back pain.

Quit Smoking

This one should be a given because of all the other detrimental effects that it has on your body and your overall health. The lack of blood flow, the slowing effect it has on your healing, and adding negative effects on your body daily, makes smoking a vice to avoid. Smoking attributes to many illnesses and problems that, sometimes when found, are too late to fix.

Use Your Body the Right Way!

Maintain a neutral pelvic position and a straight back when you are standing. Make sure to alternate feet if you are standing for long periods, or use a foot stool to take some of the pressure off of your lower back.

Avoid heavy lifting as much as you can. If you have to do it, make sure you are keeping your back straight and are letting your legs do the work. The only thing that should be bending is your knees, not your back. It is always better to look for someone that can help with an object that is either too heavy to lift by yourself or is too awkward to hold — it’s better to have to wait for someone to help than to have perpetual back pain.

When sitting, make sure that your back is in the right position, especially if you are sitting for hours on end. If you are going to do that, make sure that your chair offers the right support for your back, especially your lower back. You can place a small cushion or pillow to support your lower back and maintain its natural curve.

Don’t know how to stop the back pain?

Contact The Spine Care Center

There are many ways to avoid back pain, and there are many resources out there that claim they can improve the problem with a simple step, a magic pill, or exercise. Beware of those products that say they are a “one-use wonder” or an “all-you-need” solution.

Here at The Spine Care Center, our team is always striving to improve your overall health, and also to make sure that all the steps you are taking to improve your posture and reduce your back pain are the right ones for you. Our spine specialists know what to do for your condition and will treat you the way you need so you avoid worsening your pain.