What is back pain?

Back pain is pain felt in the back. It is divided into neck pain (cervical), middle back pain (thoracic), lower back pain (lumbar) or coccydynia (tailbone or sacral pain) based on the segment affected.The lumbar area is the most common area for pain, as it supports most of the weight in the upper body.Episodes of back pain may be acute, sub-acute, or chronic depending on the duration. The pain may be characterized as a dull ache, shooting or piercing pain, or a burning sensation. Discomfort can radiate into the arms and hands as well as the legs or feet, and may include numbness,or weakness in the legs and arms.

Back pain can originate from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine. Internal structures such as the gallbladder, pancreas, aorta, and kidneys may also cause referred pain in the back.

Back pain is common, with about nine out of ten adults experiencing it at some point in their life, and five out of ten working adults having it every year.