How to Identify an Axial Back Pain Problem

The back is made of multiple joints, ligaments, vertebrae, muscles and discs. Due to all the interworking components, it is very possible that one or more areas can cause pain or discomfort if it becomes injured. Axial back pain specifically refers to pain in the lower back. What makes axial back pain different is that it does not travel into your buttocks, legs and feet or other parts of your body.




Because there are over thirty muscles in the back, muscular strain is the most common cause of back pain. This occurs when a muscle becomes pinched, torn or strained and ultimately this pain radiates throughout the back. Another cause of back pain is referred to as ligamentous sprain. This happens when ligaments are stretched further than what they can accommodate.

A herniated disc occurs when the spinal nerves are compressed as they leave the spinal column. The most common cause of a herniated disc is the result of repetitive vibratory motion or a sudden heavy load on the back. This often results in a radicular type of back pain that is felt along that specific nerve. It should be noted that in the result of axial back pain, an MRI scan may locate an anatomical lesion, however this may not be the cause of the individuals back pain.

It is difficult to locate the cause of axial back pain and the symptoms can vary from patient to patient. Some individuals experience sharp pain while other experience dull pain. However, it is important to keep in mind that with axial back pain the pain is localized to one area of the back.




The most common types of relief for axial back pain are non-surgical and include rest, small amounts of exercise, a cold or hot compress, appropriate medical and physical therapy. In the majority of cases, the recovery time for this type of back pain is six to nine weeks. This is why physicians recommend that patients take it easy and with time, symptoms will improve.

In other cases, more invasive measures such as surgery may be necessary to correct degenerative discs or a pinched nerve.  For example, one cause of axial back pain can be the result of problems in the facet joints. Facet joints are located between the vertebrae and allow for stability and flexibility. If this occurs, facet rhizotomy is a possible procedure that may be performed by a physician. Facet rhizotomy occurs when a needle with an electrode tip is placed around the nerves of the facet joints. The tip of the needle heats up and shocks the nerves stopping the reception of pain signals.

It is important to speak with your physician if your axial back pain goes on over a long period of time and affects your ability to function. For example, if your back pain wakes you up out of your sleep, it is important to see medical attention from your physician. However, it is important to keep in mind that surgery is rarely used for axial back pain.