Some of the More Common Symptoms
Back sprains and strains are experienced by approximately three out of four adults. Sprains are caused when ligaments—the tough bands of tissue that hold bones together—become overstretched or torn. Strains involve a muscle and/or a tendon. Either one can occur when you lift too much weight, play a strenuous sport, or even bend or twist improperly during regular activities during the day. The pain may be aching, burning, stabbing, tingling, sharp, or dull.
Tension headaches are caused by referred neck pain. The pain from this type of headache is usually felt at the back of the head, in the temples, and/or behind the eyes.
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is usually associated with aging. As you become older, your intervertebral discs— the pillow-like cushions between your vertebrae—can degenerate or break down due to years of strain, overuse, or misuse. The discs may lose flexibility, elasticity, and shock absorption. They also become thinner as they dehydrate.
Herniated disc usually occurs in the neck or low back. A herniated disc can cause pain when the outer ring (annulus) or interior matter (nucleus pulposus) presses on a nearby nerve root.
Myofascial pain is a chronic pain disorder where pressure on sensitive points in your muscles—called trigger points—can cause deep, aching pain in seemingly unrelated parts of your body. This is known as referred pain. Sometimes myofascial pain feels like a “knot” in your muscle, and occurs after a muscle is used repeated.
Sciatica may occur when the sciatic nerve or a branch of the sciatic nerve is compressed or becomes irritated. The hallmark of sciatica is moderate to severe pain that travels below the knee of one leg. Some people with sciatica describe the pain as sharp, shooting, or similar to an electric-shock.
Sacroiliac joint pain is a prevalent disorder affecting your sacroiliac joints, also called your SI joints. If you look at someone from the back, you may see dimples at the base of the spine—those dimples are over your SI joints. The SI joints are where your sacrum and your pelvis meet.
The SI joints are held together by cartilage. When 1 or both of your SI joint(s) misaligns, you’ll experience swelling in the cartilage that holds the joints together. This can stress the cartilage, causing the joints to become painful and misaligned.
Whiplash is a hyperflexion/hyperextension injury commonly occurring when a motor vehicle is rear-ended. The neck and head are “whipped” suddenly and quickly forward (hyperflexion) and backward (hyperextension), which may lead to severe neck sprain and/or strain.