Back pain above the lower back

Today, back pain is one of the common reasons why people seek qualified advice. According to some data, it occurs at least once in life in at least 80% of the adult population, and at least 4-9% annually seek qualified advice about it. Painful sensations just above the lumbar region, in the back, are among the common complaints. In this article we will talk about what problems can cause pain in this area, how they are identified, and also touch on the topic of combating them.

Some Possible Causes of Pain

The bulk of cases of pain in the back and lumbar region is musculoskeletal pain, which can be caused by osteochondrosis, myositis, and intervertebral hernia. However, it can also be caused by other pathologies, as well as certain conditions of the human body. Let's look at some common reasons.


Or, according to the term adopted today in the international classification of diseases - dorsopathy. These are dystrophic changes in the cartilage tissue of the intervertebral discs, compensating for the load on the spine, providing shock absorption during movement, vibration loads, etc. In most cases, pathology can appear due to genetic predisposition, as well as a sedentary and sedentary lifestyle, and lack of physical activity.


These are muscle pains that can be caused by a variety of reasons. Just above the lower back are the muscles that hold and stabilize the spinal column. Therefore, the reason for painful sensations in them can be various diseases of the spine itself, as well as increased physical activity, hypothermia, etc.

Intervertebral hernia

This is one of the complications of spinal osteochondrosis, in which the integrity of the intervertebral disc is disrupted, and the aqueous core located inside protrudes into the spinal canal. Depending on the size of the hernia and its location in the back, sharp shooting pains may occur, sometimes radiating to other parts of the body and limbs (with pathology above the lower back, this can be either the leg or the arm).

Diseases of internal organs

Back pain is not always a sign of problems with the spine. Often it can also be a symptom of pathologies of internal organs: gastric and duodenal ulcers, pancreatitis, cholecystitis, urolithiasis, kidney diseases, etc. However, it does not always hurt in the abdomen, side or other area where the affected organ is located.

Age-related changes

With age, the structure of the spine undergoes a number of changes, especially noticeable with a sedentary lifestyle and reduced load. They concern the ligamentous apparatus, muscles, and bone tissue. Osteochondrosis and arthrosis, combined with muscle atrophy and loss of ligament elasticity, can periodically cause pain in the lumbar region.


Back pain is not always a sign of any pathology. For example, late pregnancy can also cause this condition in women. According to available data, 90% of pregnant women complain of back pain and 50% of discomfort localized specifically in the lumbar region. But why is this happening? The reasons are physiological changes in the biomechanics of the pelvis and spine. In most cases, pain can occur in women who have previously experienced back problems

causes of back pain

Types of painful sensations

Understanding what kind of pain a person is experiencing is important for diagnosis. Back pain above the lower back can be girdling, aching, pulling, dull, sharp, etc. Sensations are only additional data that are used in diagnosis. You should not rely on them completely, much less diagnose yourself solely on the basis of this information.

Some possible diagnostic methods

During a qualified consultation, anamnesis and data on symptoms are collected. However, this is not enough: additional examinations are needed to make a more accurate diagnosis. The specialist can either limit himself to one of them or prescribe several.


This is a diagnostic technique based on the use of X-rays. With the help of such an examination, it is possible to identify fractures, osteochondrosis of the spine, spondylosis, neoplasms, as well as curvatures and other disorders. When performing radiography, the image of the organ under study is projected onto film or paper in only one projection - this method is less informative than X-ray CT and MRI.

X-ray computed tomography (X-ray computed tomography)

X-ray CT is similar to radiography in the technology used: it is also based on x-ray radiation. However, as a result of such diagnostics, not a 2D, but a 3D image is obtained, which is available for layer-by-layer study. For this, stronger ionizing radiation is used, which should not be used too often. RCT can be performed with or without contrast, which provides a clearer image and increases the success of diagnosing certain diseases.


Magnetic resonance imaging is a diagnostic method that also allows one to obtain a multilayer image in several projections, but is in no way related to the use of X-rays. It is based on magnetic resonance and is therefore safer than X-rays and CT scans, but is not suitable for patients with permanent metal structures in the body. In addition, this study is noisier and longer. Like CT, MRI can be performed with contrast to more accurately diagnose certain diseases.


This technique is based on the principle of echolocation and, as a rule, is used to diagnose diseases of internal organs if the symptoms give reason to suspect their presence. It is highly informative and safe in the study of organs and tissues. Ultrasound of the spine is also performed, but extremely rarely.

Laboratory diagnostics

To diagnose an inflammatory process, the presence of an infection or a tumor, a general blood test with ESR-leukocyte formula may be prescribed. In the future, if pathologies of internal organs are suspected, additional laboratory tests may also be prescribed.

Other diagnostic methods

If a specific nature of pain or internal organ disease is suspected, other examinations may be prescribed until a diagnosis is made and the cause of the pain is identified.

how to treat back pain

Treatment of back pain above the lumbar region

The most important step in getting rid of back pain is obtaining qualified advice. After diagnosis, exclusion of diseases of internal organs, serious pathologies of the spine and determination of pain as nonspecific, the following may be recommended:

  • taking NSAIDs.Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for internal and local use are often used to relieve nonspecific back pain, osteochondrosis, hernias and other pathologies. The category of such drugs includes the active ingredient in the composition - nimesulide;
  • taking muscle relaxants.They are designed to help fight muscle spasm, thereby improving mobility and reducing pain;
  • taking other medications.For diseases of internal organs or back pain during pregnancy, the set of medications will most likely be different;
  • physiotherapy and exercise therapy.During the acute period, various physical procedures may be recommended to relieve pain and accelerate improvement. These include, for example, electrophoresis with analgesics, pulsed currents, ultraviolet irradiation, massage, exercise therapy, as well as mineral baths, mud therapy, etc. ;
  • surgical intervention.Surgery may be prescribed for herniated discs if other methods of pain relief do not produce results for a long time, and may also be indicated based on the results of MRI, X-ray or X-ray.
gymnastics for back pain

Some Possible Prevention Measures

Since risk factors for the development of musculoskeletal back pain, including in the area above the lumbar region, include heavy physical work, a sedentary lifestyle, as well as frequent bending of the body, heavy lifting and vibration, it is recommended to minimize these factors as a preventive measure. If your back is already aching above the lower back, you should not immediately overload your muscles with gymnastics and especially sports - you should first seek qualified advice to rule out pathologies.