Back Pain

Updated 01 March 2017

The possible causes of back pain

Use this list as a basis of the possible causes of back pain.


Back pain can be caused by an accident or an injury to the spine. Or it can be caused by a degenerative disease, metabolic diseases or be congenital. It can be the result of developmental problems or a tumour.

Use this list as a basis of the possible causes of back pain:

Possible causes It can be one of these diseases
Degenerative (related to ageing)Discogenic disease; spinal stenosis; spondylitic disease; facet joint hypertrophy
Traumatic (related to injury or an accident, including motorcycle accidents, diving accidents and rugby injuries)Vertebral fractures; lumbar strains and sprains; ligamentous injuries, musculoskeletal injuries
Inflammatory (usually a chronic type of inflammation)Arachnoiditis; arthritis (e.g. ankolysing spondylitis)
Infective (this can be due to a bacterial of viral infection)Meningitis; vertebral osteomyelitis; epidural abscess; urinary tract infection; intervertebral discitis; radiculopathy
Congenital (you are born with these)Spondylosis; tethered cord syndromes
Developmental (becomes more apparent in adolescents) Scoliosis; sacral agenesis; Scheuermann's kyphosis
MetabolicOsteoporosis; Paget's disease; diabetic radiculopathy
TumourIt can either be a benign tumour or malignant. A malignant tumour can be primary or metastatic.

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Susan qualified as a Physiotherapist in 1990, and completed her master’s degree in Physiotherapy in 2013 at the University of Pretoria. She has a special interest in human biomechanics, as well as the interaction between domestic and work-related ergonomics.

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