What’s Causing My Back Pain and Do I Need Back Surgery?

woman experiencing back pain

From simple strains to slipped discs, millions of Americans deal with back pain every day. As your body’s main structural support, the back endures plenty of wear and tear while remaining flexible to meet your movements.

There are different kinds of back pain, though, and the type of pain you experience matters to your short term and long-term health. That’s why we’ve put together this high-level overview of different kinds of back pain and what your options are for dealing with each type.

Causes of Upper Back Pain

If you’re suffering from upper back pain, it could be caused by:

  • Overexertion
  • Improper lifting techniques
  • Accident or collision
  • Poor posture

These are some of the more common causes of upper back pain. If you can’t think of a recent event that would be the underlying reason for your suffering, you could have an issue that can only be diagnosed by a medical professional. More serious back issues include:

  • Thoracic herniated disc
  • Compression fractures
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Severe spinal deformity

You’ll want to have these issues diagnosed as soon as possible so you can have them treated.

Causes of Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain could have similar causes to upper back pain, including lifting a heavy object or twisting while lifting, recently suffering a fall, sitting or standing with poor posture, or a sports injury.

However, if you’ve been experiencing chronic lower back pain — defined as lasting for longer than 3 months and exceeding your body’s natural healing process — then you’ll want to see a doctor for a thorough examination. Causes of chronic lower back pain may include:

  • Lumbar herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facet joint dysfunction
  • Spinal stenosis

How Would You Describe Your Pain?

When you seek medical attention for your back pain, the doctor will ask you to describe the pain in order to diagnose the underlying cause.

Back pain can be sharp or dull, constantly present, or it can come and go at will. This is typical of a muscle strain. Back pain can also be dull and achy, can move around, and even vary in intensity. It can also be a deep and searing pain that moves along the path of the nerve to the arm or leg that is also accompanied by weakness or numbness.

When talking to your medical professional, it’s important to describe the pain you’re feeling as best as possible because it will help them determine the most likely cause and the best treatment plan.

When It’s Time for Back Surgery

Depending on what is causing your pain, and if conservative approaches to treatment haven’t worked, it might be time to talk to your doctor about back surgery.  

For back surgery in Raleigh, NC, contact Mathur Spine Surgery at (919) 297-0000 to set up a consultation with Dr. Sameer Mathur. Dr. Mathur will work with you to find the best treatment for your needs.

Conservative | Comprehensive | Compassionate