What causes burning back pain?

burning back painHaving the sensation of burning back pain can be very annoying and quite debilitating. There are many reasons why back pain develops, and the nature of the pain can be an important clue for physicians seeking a diagnosis.

While back pain symptoms vary from patient to patient, having a back pain burning sensation is often the result of muscle tightening, causing them to warm up and even display a reddish appearance of the skin.

Burning back pain causes


Burning back pain causes due to spinal problems: Our spines are comprised of several intervertebral discs that sit in between the vertebral bones. These discs can become damaged due to degeneration or injury. When one of these discs bulges out from its normal position, it is called a disc herniation and can lead to back pain. The lower back, also called the lumbar region, is considered more vulnerable to degeneration, injuries, and other disorders. This is thought to be because this area is more heavily stresses during the day and is highly involved during activates such as lifting heavy weights and sports.

Burning back pain causes due to skeletal defect: The shape of the spine affects your posture. The spine was subject to skeletal or bony deformities that could have a negative effect on our posture, leading to the development of back pain. Conditions such as scoliosis, kyphosis, or lordosis can change spinal musculature and even compress spinal nerves, resulting in burning back pain.

Burning back pain causes due to muscle spasms and strains: Overstretching, tearing, or injuries to the muscles in the back can result in a sudden spasm or strain. These typically occur when lifting heavy objects or during sudden movements that strain muscle beyond their normal range. Repeated strain or injury of the back can cause its muscles to become weak over time, making them more vulnerable to spasms.

Burning back pain causes due to injuries: Severe burning back pain can be the result of direct injuries to the soft tissue supporting the spine. Sometimes, an injury may cause discomfort at a later time. Continued stress on injured spinal column structures, such as spinal discs or nerves, can lead to burning back pain.

Back muscle pain: Often confined to a specific region on the back, these types of back pain are often perceived as an increase in temperature in the affected muscles. It is possible that a buildup of toxic chemicals in the back muscles or an inflammatory process is causing this burning sensation.

Oxygen deprivation back pain: Due to a lack of blood supply that would normally deliver oxygenated blood to tissues. When blood supply becomes restricted or cuts off completely, tissue damage or even death is often imminent. Damage to muscles may be experienced as heat, tingling, weakness, and numbness.

Chemical radiculitis: An inflammatory condition of the nerve root. It can be caused by rupture of the annulus fibrosus (exterior of the intervertebral disc) and dissemination of disk fluid along the nerve root sheath. This condition is a reaction to repeated injury of the spinal column. This may commonly be seen in those who lift heavy loads for a living.

Burning back pain prevention

Having sharp burning pain in the back region can be a distressing occurrence, but it can be prevented to a certain degree. Various exercises, avoiding potential back hurting hazards, and using common sense are all methods for good burning back pain prevention. However, it is a good idea to speak to a medical professional if your current back pain symptoms are not the result of some underlying condition. The following are some tips to help prevent you from developing burning back pain:

Exercise helps to

  • Improve posture
  • Strengthen the back and improve flexibility
  • Lose or maintain weight
  • Provides stability to avoid falls

Tips for lifting and bending

  • Get someone to help you if an object is too heavy or awkward to hold
  • Give yourself a wide base of support by spreading your feet apart
  • Stand as close as possible to the object when lifting it
  • Bend at your knees, not at your waist.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles when lifting or lowering an object to provide stability
  • Hold the object as close to your body as you can.
  • Lift using your leg muscles not your back
  • As you stand up with the object, do not bend forward.
  • Avoid twisting when bending for the object, lifting it up, or carrying it.

Other tips:

Avoid standing for long periods. Those whose occupations rely on them standing, try to take any opportunity to sit or lean to take the stress off your back from standing

  • Avoid wearing high heels. Instead, invest in a comfortable shoe with adequate support
  • When staying seating for long periods of time, make sure that your chair has a straight back with an adjustable seat and back, armrests, and a swivel
  • seat.
  • Place a small pillow or rolled towel behind your lower back while sitting or driving. This will provide lumbar support for long drives
  • If you drive long distance, taking a break by stopping to take a walk every hour or so will help you aboding straining your back muscles.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Lose weight.
  • Do exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles on a regular basis as it works your core which provides the rest of your body with stability.

Diagnosis and treatment of burning back pain

Burning back pain will be obvious when it occurs, often prompting individuals to find an immediate remedy as soon as they can. If you are confident that you know the reason you develop the burning back pain is caused by physical stress, using commonly found remedies can be of great help. The following are some easy to do treatments can do on our own:

  • Stop and avoid doing the inciting activity that caused your burning back pain for a few days.
  • Apply heat or ice to the area.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • While sleeping, try to sleep in fetal position curled up. Place a pillow between your knees to relieve pressure.


If you suspect that the source of your back pain is something more serious, as in the case of a herniated disc, seeing a doctor right away is highly recommended. The doctor will fully evaluate your spine and perform imaging tests such as X-rays and MRIs to get a clearing diagnosis. Treatment for serious back injuries will often make use of stronger pain relievers, physical therapy, and other therapies to help get you back to normal.

A common misconception is that bed rest is the best course of action, but it is often not recommended if no serious signs of back pain are present, such as loss of bladder or sphincter control. Instead, staying active and with limited bed rest have been shown to promote back pain recovery.

Related: Kidney pain vs. back pain: Understand the difference

Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.



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