Back pain above the lower back

Today, back pain is one of the most common reasons why people seek qualified advice. According to some data, it occurs at least once in a lifetime in at least 80% of the adult population, and at least 4-9% request qualified advice about it every year. Painful sensations just above the lumbar region, in the back, are among the most 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 their struggle.

Some possible causes of pain

Most cases of back and lumbar pain are 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 cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral discs, which compensate for the load on the spine, provide shock absorption during movement, vibration loads, etc. In most cases, the pathology can occur due to genetic predisposition, as well as a sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity.


These are muscle pain that can be caused by a variety of reasons. Just above the lower back are the muscles that support and stabilize the spine. 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 nucleus located inside protrudes into the spinal canal. Depending on the size of the hernia and its location in the back, sharp, stabbing pain may occur, sometimes radiating to other parts of the body and limbs (in case of pathology above the lower back, it may be the leg or the arm).

Diseases of the internal organs

Back pain is not always a sign of spinal problems. It can also often be a symptom of pathologies of internal organs: gastric and duodenal ulcers, pancreatitis, cholecystitis, urolithiasis, kidney disease, etc. However, it does not always hurt 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 ligament system, muscles and bone tissue. Osteochondrosis and arthrosis, combined with muscle atrophy and loss of elasticity of the ligaments, can periodically cause pain in the lumbar region.


Back pain is not always a sign of any pathology. For example, late pregnancy can cause this condition in women too. 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 already had back problems

causes of back pain

Types of painful sensations

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

Some possible diagnostic methods

During a qualified consultation, medical history and data on symptoms are collected. However, this is not enough: further tests are needed to make a more accurate diagnosis. The specialist can 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 x-ray, the image of the organ under study is projected onto film or paper in a single 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 3D image is obtained, which is available for study layer per layer. For this purpose, stronger ionizing radiation is used, which should not be used too often. RCT can be performed with or without contrast, which provides a clearer picture and increases the success of the diagnosis of some diseases.

magnetic resonance imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging is a diagnostic method that also allows you to obtain a multilayer image in multiple projections, but has no relation to the use of X-rays. It is based on magnetic resonance imaging and is therefore safer than X-rays and CT scans, but it is not suitable for patients with permanent metal structures in the body. Additionally, 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 the internal organs are suspected, additional laboratory tests may also be prescribed.

Other diagnostic methods

If a specific nature of the pain or a disease of the internal organs is suspected, other tests may be prescribed until the cause of the pain is diagnosed and identified.

how to treat back pain

Treatment of back pain above the lumbar region

The most important step to get rid of back pain is to get qualified advice. After diagnosis, exclusion of diseases of internal organs, severe pathologies of the spine and determination of pain as nonspecific, the following can 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 spasms, thus improving mobility and reducing pain;
  • taking other medications.For diseases of internal organs or back pain during pregnancy, the set of drugs will most likely be different;
  • physiotherapy and physical therapy.During the acute period, various physical procedures may be recommended to relieve pain and speed improvement. These include, for example, electrophoresis with analgesics, pulsed currents, ultraviolet irradiation, massage, physical therapy, as well as mineral baths, mud therapy, etc. ;
  • Surgery.Surgery may be prescribed for herniated disc if other methods of pain relief do not give 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 preventative measure. If your back is already sore above the lower back, you should not immediately overload the muscles with gymnastics and especially sports: you should first seek qualified advice to exclude pathologies.