Back pain is one of the most common health problems in adults, though everyone feels it differently. It can feel like stabbing pain, a soreness or an ache. You can get it while lying down, sitting, standing or walking. You may also have stiffness or feel the pain spread down into your legs.

Though it can go away on its own, you should see a doctor if you think you have injured your back or if your pain does not go away for months.

What causes back pain?

Back pain could be caused by problems with the bones, nerves or muscles in your back. Causes can include:

  • Muscle tears or strains
  • Arthritis
  • Spine deformities like scoliosis or lordosis
  • Disk degeneration (wearing away of disks that cushion the bones of your spine
  • Spondylolisthesis (slipping of disks in the spine)
  • Herniated disk (disks pressing on nerves in your spine)
  • Spine fractures

How do I prevent back pain?

You can take simple steps to keep your back healthy and pain-free.

  • Practice good posture when you sit and stand
  • Sleep on your back and side
  • Stay at a healthy weight to avoid straining your back
  • Strengthen your back, legs and abs with safe exercises
  • Avoid wearing high heels or shoes without good support
  • If you have to lift a heavy object, bend at your legs, not your back. You should keep your back straight as you lift to avoid injury.

What are treatment options for back pain?

Your doctor can help you select the best treatment based on the cause of your pain as well as your lifestyle.

Treatments might include:

  • Pain medicine pills or injections
  • Hot or cold packs
  • Exercises to stretch and strengthen your back
  • Surgery 

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.