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The two common types of back pain are upper back pain and low back pain. Back pain most often is caused by issues with ligaments and muscle. Back pain can also be caused by issues with the discs, nerves, and bones of the back. 

Low back pain is the most common back pain and is mostly caused by straining the muscles, or “throwing out your back.” This refers to pain that starts suddenly after physical effort as in lifting something heavy inappropriately or bending. It can also occur when sitting, standing, or sleeping in an awkward position. 

Other causes of low back pain include: 

– Arthritis – Disc bulging, disc damage, torn discs – Vertebral bony growth that pushes on nearby nerves – Narrowing of the spinal canal – A displaced vertebra – Bone tumor or infection, (a very rare possibility). 

Low back pain can vary from a dull constant ache to sharp severe pain. Pain can radiate down the legs to the toes, giving numbness or even tingling. 

Upper back pain complaints are usually from the neck and down to the middle of the back. This is a more recent issue due to lifestyle. Most common causes are prolonged sitting at the computer, improper posture or seating, and deconditioning or reduced strength. 

Both low back pain and upper back pain need to be evaluated by a provider to decide whether imaging is necessary. Treatment may include anti-inflammatories, prescription muscle relaxants, and physical therapy.

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