Common causes of back pain fall include mechanical problems, injuries, tumors, infections and acquired conditions, explains WebMD. Psychological concerns, such as anxiety, depression and stress, can exacerbate back pain, as can sleep deprivation.
Mechanical problems that cause back pain involve structural abnormalities that affect the way the spine moves, notes WebMD. One example is intervertebral disc degeneration, which occurs when the discs between the spinal vertebrae deteriorate due to age. Herniated discs, muscle tension and back spasms also fall under the category of mechanical back pain sources.
Scoliosis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and spinal stenosis are examples of acquired medical conditions that can contribute to back pain, as WebMD explains. Scoliosis is an abnormal spinal curvature that usually does not produce back pain until patients enter midlife. Osteoporosis itself does not cause back pain, but patients with the condition are more likely to experience vertebral fractures that result in pain. In patients with spinal stenosis, back pain is a result of an increase in pressure on the nerves and spinal cord due to the spinal column becoming narrower.
Infections and tumors are relatively uncommon causes of back pain, according to WebMD. Most often, a tumor causing back pain does not originate in the back. Usually, the tumor results from cancer that began in another area of the body before spreading to the back.