3 Reasons Why Your Back May Be Hurting

Aug 01, 2023
 Most cases of back pain fall into three main categories. Explore the possible causes of your back pain ahead of your virtual
Most cases of back pain fall into three main categories. Explore the possible causes of your back pain ahead of your virtual urgent care visit. 

A painful back makes rest feel like a chore. You might lose sleep, miss out on work, and sit on the sidelines instead of participating in your favorite athletic activities. While back pain can certainly cause misery, discovering its underlying cause is the first step toward finding relief. 

Surprisingly enough, a telehealth evaluation is often sufficient enough to discover the likeliest cause of your back pain and provide helpful tips for managing discomfort. Rolandine Vaughan, PA-C, MPAS, asks a series of questions about your pain. You should report:

  • When the pain started
  • How the pain started
  • The location of the pain in your back
  • The pain’s features (Is it sharp? Dull? Throbbing?)
  • Any other symptoms that accompany your pain (e.g. numbness, tingling, fever)
  • Whether the pain changes with certain movements

Rolandine invites you to schedule a virtual medical consultation with Virtually Urgent Healthcare, based in Dacula, Georgia, if you experience back pain that doesn’t let up with time and home care. During your evaluation, she tells you more about the top three reasons why back pain occurs, which we also cover in this article. 

1. Musculoskeletal injuries

Musculoskeletal injuries involve physical damage to your bones, tendons, ligaments, or muscles. They can also affect spinal structures like discs. When they happen in the back, they can be either acute or chronic. Acute musculoskeletal injuries happen suddenly, like in a car accident or sporting event, while chronic injuries involve damage that builds up with overuse. 

A few examples of common musculoskeletal injuries leading to back pain are:

  • Compression fractures
  • Muscle or tendon strains
  • Ligament sprains
  • Herniated discs

Most of these injuries happen in the lumbar spine (low back) or cervical spine (your neck). Be mindful of risk factors that increase your likelihood of getting a back injury including excessive weight, poor posture, and weak abdominal muscles. Additionally, be sure to follow injury-preventing safety protocols during exercise and at work. 

2. Spinal degeneration

Degenerative conditions of the spine are medical conditions that cause specific structures in your spine to deteriorate with time. Let’s review two examples:

Degenerative disc disease

By age 40, the majority of us have at least some disc degeneration in our backs. Your spinal discs are the rubbery structures that provide cushioning and shock absorption between your vertebrae. 

Though disc degeneration is extremely common, it only causes back pain in about 5% of adults. Still, degenerative disc disease and other forms of spinal degeneration can lead to other structural changes in the back like spinal stenosis, which can compress nerves in your back to cause pain, numbness, and weakness. 


Spinal arthritis causes inflammation in the facet joints between your vertebrae. There are many types of arthritis, which can stem from autoimmune disorders, infections, and wear-and-tear among other factors. Spinal arthritis is most prevalent in the low back and neck. 

3. Internal medical conditions

Sometimes back pain has nothing to do with the structures in and around your spine: It’s just where the pain happens to appear from some other condition or disorder. Many people report back pain from internal medical conditions such as:

  • Kidney infections
  • Kidney stones
  • Endometriosis
  • Dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
  • Aortic aneurysm

As you might imagine, these conditions require targeted treatments. You can still manage the pain with ice, rest, and other general pain management strategies. 

If you have back pain that won’t let up, don’t hesitate to call Virtually Urgent Healthcare or schedule your virtual visit online for convenient remote health care.