There are several causes of back pains, some are natural–arthritis due to old age–while others are medical. Therefore, it’s important to know the exact cause of your sore back before you decide on the next step to take.

For instance, in the case of mechanical back pain, you might not necessarily need medical intervention. In fact, most mechanical back pains tend to go away on their own. However, for cases like spondylolisthesis, surgery might be required to correct the complication.

So, how, then, would you know if your back pain is a result of aging or mere mechanical back pain? It all depends on the writings on the wall. These signs will indicate the root cause of your back pains. That way, you can take actionable steps that directly address the problem.

Signs of Mechanical Back Pain

Mechanical back pain is caused by trauma or strain on the back due to either bad posture, muscle or ligament strain, or improperly lifting heavy objects.

The telltale signs of mechanical back pain include:

  • Pain radiating to the buttocks and thighs, which is accompanied by spasms.
  • Pain being more detectable with activities that put the back to work, like lifting heavy objects.

Signs of Sciatica Back Pain

Sciatica, which is basically the pain we feel as a result of pressure on the sciatic nerve, can be caused by either stenosis, intervertebral disc degeneration, spondylolisthesis, or herniated discs.

The general signs of sciatica are:

  • Insensibility or numbness in the lumbar region (lower back), buttocks, and feet.
  • Severe pain on the back that radiates from the lower back all the way down to the legs.
  • Tingly sensation in the legs or feet.
  • Loss of bowel and, sometimes, bladder control.

To be more specific, stenosis comes with cramps in the legs, a heavy feeling in the legs that could make moving difficult, and the pain worsening with activity. Also, people with stenosis find that they get relief from the pain when they arch or bend forward.

For disc degeneration symptoms, the pain worsens when you are sitting, bending, twisting, or lifting things. It tends to get better when you are running, moving about, or lying down, but comes back when you stand in place for a long time.

In the case of spondylolisthesis, you feel a stiffness in your back and legs accompanied by tenderness in these regions. Tight hamstring and stiff buttocks muscles are also a telltale sign of spondylolisthesis.

In addition to the general symptoms of sciatica, you may feel arm pain, leg pain, and weakness with herniated disc-related back pain.

Signs of Spondylosis Back Pain

Cervical spondylosis is more or less the arthritis of the back. Symptoms of cervical spondylosis include:

  • Struggles with walking and general coordination.
  • Inability to control bowel movements.
  • Tingly sensation in the arms, legs, and feet accompanied with weakness.

Ankylosing spondylitis, on the other hand, is an inflammatory condition that affects the spine. Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis include:

  • Neck pain
  • Chronic pains in the lower back, especially in the mornings or after a long period of inactivity.
  • Stiffness in the hips and lumbar region.

Back Pain due to Cancer

According to specialists, severe back pains might indicate an early symptom of spinal cancer, though it’s important to remember this does not occur very often. For the most part, spinal cancer usually occurs when cancer from other regions spread to the spinal cord.

Spinal cancer-related back pains show the following symptoms:

  • Weakness in the arms and legs
  • Back pain that spreads towards the arms and legs
  • Detectable change in bowel movements

Pain that’s predominantly in the back, especially if it is intermittent or short-lasting, is almost always benign. Still, it is best to look out for the red flags, like the ones highlighted above, to know if conservative treatment or surgery will be best applicable. After noticing the red flags, the next step to take is to go for the treatment.

There are different ways to go about back pain treatment. But if you are looking for home remedies that are sure to get rid of your sore back problems, check out this great back pain blog by Jayamove Physio founder and Arkash Jayanandan.