Back pain above the lower back

Back pain is now one of the most common reasons why people seek qualified advice. According to some data, it occurs in at least 80% of the adult population at least once in their life, and at least 4-9% seek qualified advice about it annually. The most common complaints include pain above the lumbar spine, in the back. In this article we will talk about what problems in this area can cause pain, how to identify them, and also touch on the topic of combating them.

Some possible causes of pain

The majority 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 used today in the international classification of diseases - dorsopathy. These are dystrophic changes in the cartilage tissue of the intervertebral discs, which balance the load on the spine, provide shock absorption during movement, vibration loads, etc. In most cases, pathology can occur due to a genetic predisposition, as well as sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity.


This is muscle pain that can have various causes. Directly above the lower back are the muscles that hold and stabilize the spine. Therefore, various diseases of the spine itself, as well as increased physical activity, hypothermia, etc. can be the cause of painful sensations.

Intervertebral hernia

This is one of the complications of spinal osteochondrosis, in which the integrity of the intervertebral disc is disturbed and the watery core in it protrudes into the spinal canal. Depending on the size of the hernia and its location in the back, stabbing pain may occur, sometimes radiating to other parts of the body and limbs (for pathologies above the lower back, this can be either the leg or the arm).

Diseases of the internal organs

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

Age-related changes

As we age, the structure of the spine undergoes a number of changes that are particularly noticeable with a sedentary lifestyle and less stress. They affect the ligaments, muscles and bone tissue. Osteochondrosis and arthrosis, in combination with muscle atrophy and loss of ligament elasticity, can periodically cause pain in the lumbar region.


Back pain is not always a sign of pathology. For example, late pregnancy can also lead to this disease in women. According to available data, 90% of pregnant women complain of back pain and 50% of complaints that are specifically localized 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 suffered from back problems

Causes of back pain

Types of painful sensations

For diagnosis, it is important to understand what type of pain a person is experiencing. Back pain above the lower back can be belt-like, aching, pulling, dull, sharp, etc. Sensations are just additional data used in diagnosis. You should not rely entirely on them and certainly should not make a diagnosis based on this information alone.

Some possible diagnostic methods

As part of a qualified consultation, anamnesis and data on the symptoms are collected. However, this is not enough: additional examinations are required for 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 detect fractures, osteochondrosis of the spine, spondylosis, neoplasms, as well as curvatures and other diseases. During radiography, the image of the examined organ 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-rays. However, as a result of such diagnostics, not a 2D, but a 3D image is obtained, which is available for a layer-by-layer examination. For this purpose, more 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 success in diagnosing certain diseases.


Magnetic resonance imaging is a diagnostic method that also makes it possible to obtain a multi-layer image in several projections, but is not 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 louder and longer. Like CT, MRI can be performed using contrast media to more accurately diagnose certain diseases.


This technique is based on the principle of echolocation and is usually used to diagnose diseases of internal organs if the symptoms indicate their presence. It is extremely informative and safe when examining organs and tissues. An ultrasound scan 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 an ESR leukocyte formula can be prescribed. In the future, if pathologies of internal organs are suspected, additional laboratory tests may also be prescribed.

Other diagnostic methods

If a certain type of pain or a disease of internal organs is suspected, further examinations may be prescribed until a diagnosis is made and the cause of the pain is clarified.

how to treat back pain

Treatment of back pain above the lumbar spine

The most important step in getting rid of back pain is getting qualified advice. After diagnosing, excluding diseases of internal organs, serious pathologies of the spine and establishing the 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 said to help combat muscle spasms, thereby improving mobility and relieving pain.
  • Taking other medications.If there are diseases of the internal organs or back pain during pregnancy, the set of medications will most likely be different;
  • Physiotherapy and exercise therapy.During the acute phase, various physical measures may be recommended to relieve pain and speed recovery. These include, for example, electrophoresis with analgesics, pulsed currents, UV radiation, massage, exercise therapy, but also mineral baths, mud therapy, etc. ;
  • surgical intervention.For herniated discs, surgery may be prescribed if other methods of pain relief do not bring 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 the risk factors for the development of musculoskeletal back pain, including in the area above the lumbar spine, 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 already hurts above the lower back, you should not immediately overload your muscles with gymnastics and especially sports, but first seek qualified advice to rule out pathologies.