Dr. Michael Francis, DC is the Wilmington DE Chiropractor for Peak Performance, with a focus on both Sports and Auto Injuries.

What is the most common cause of back pain?

August 3, 2020

HomeBlogWhat is the most common cause of back pain?

What Could Cause Back Pain?

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, back pain is incredibly common with 75 to 85 percent of all Americans experiencing back pain at least once in their lives with 50 percent going through more than a single episode a year. Back pain can either be acute or chronic with the difference being that acute back pain is observed as back pain that lasts less than a month, while chronic back pain is a pain that lasts at least 3 months. The most common causes of back pain are usually from problems with one or more of these parts in the back:

  • Ligaments
  • Muscles
  • Nerves
  • The several bony structures that make up the spine usually called vertebral bodies or vertebrae

Back pain is usually not a cause for concern as it is very uncommon for it to be related to any sort of underlying disease, but it could be caused by a nearby organ, like the kidney. 

Thankfully, the pain is relieved by itself 90% of the time without any need for surgery, although you should make an appointment with your doctor if you are experiencing prolonged back pain. 

Back pain is a common injury after a car accident. Our auto injury chiropractic office is here to alleviate that pain.


With only a small percent of individuals requiring extensive care, over-the-counter medicine is often powerful enough to ease the pain. 

In severe cases, more effective treatments could prove necessary but are typically given to you by your doctor with close supervision. 


Most back pain episodes can be relieved through treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen. Pain relievers or analgesics such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) could also serve as an option although they do not have any anti-inflammatory properties. 

Be cautious when using Ibuprofen if you have stomach ulcers or kidney problems, and you shouldn’t ever take more than your recommended dose of over-the-counter medicine without a specific recommendation to do so. Overdosing on over-the-counter medicine could lead to serious side effects if not specifically advised. 

Other Medications Include…

Rubs and Ointments

Topical ointments may include certain pain relief ingredients that could be highly effective against back pain. Rubs containing Ibuprofen and Lidocaine have been proving to work against standard placebos for pain relief. 


Opioids are certain medications that are much stronger and much more effective than standard pain relief medications and act on the brain’s cells and body to relieve pain. These medications include oxycodone (OxyContin) and other medications such as acetaminophen and hydrocodone (Vicodin). 

However, Opioids should only be taken when advised and should not be abused, as excessive use of these drugs could lead to a serious addiction. 

Muscle Relaxation

Muscle Relaxants could serve as a valuable pain reliever and can also be used for lower back pain, especially with muscle spasms occurring along with the pain. These medicines use the central nervous system to reduce pain.

Steroid Injections

Your doctor might also recommend steroid injections as an effective treatment against back pain with cortisone steroid injections for severe back pain. A downside of this is that steroid injections usually wear off within 3 months. 

So what are the most common causes?

While there are many different causes to back pain, there are several different incredibly common and usual causes that are almost never a cause for concern, so here is a list of all the different common causes for back and lower back pains.

  • Muscle Strains
  • Structural Problems
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Other Causes Include
  • Displacement of one vertebral body to another
  • Loss of nerve function at the lower back
  • Fungal or Bacterial infection across the spine
  • Cancerous or nonmalignant tumor located on the spine
  • Kidney infection or kidney stones

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Related content: https://optimalperformancechiro.com/can-neck-pain-be-a-sign-of-something-serious/

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