Trauma and Fractures
This cause of back pain requires medical treatment and is usually a reason for emergency visits. Most fractures happen in long bones of the extremities, but when trauma is very severe, it may also involve the spine. Also, receiving a direct hit to the back may trigger a vertebral fracture, especially in group sports. In most cases, this cause of back pain happens after a car crash or in a similar situation, in which case patients may also experience whiplash syndrome.
Besides fractures due to trauma, the most common cause of fractures in older adults is osteoporosis and microfractures. In osteoporosis, the bones become fragile and elderly falls can cause different types of fractures. Even when this does not happen, patients may experience a dull pain in the spine when their vertebrae become too fragile to hold the weight properly and start suffering microscopic fractures that build up and cause lingering back pain.
The treatment is different in each case. The traditional type of fracture caused by direct trauma or a car crash requires immobilization and sometimes a surgical procedure. Nerves likely become involved, and a neurosurgeon can be required to resolve the problem. In microscopic fractures due to osteoporosis, strengthening the bone tissue is fundamental, and exercise usually provides a turning point for these patients. Only a few cases require a more invasive approach.