Did you know that one in four American workers struggle with back pain? If you are one of those people who deals with aching or acute pain in your upper or lower back, you are far from alone.

Of course, if you are still in the midst of your back pain symptoms, that fact likely comes as little comfort. But don’t worry—there are solutions that can help mitigate or even solve your back pain.

The first step to easing your back pain is to recognize the different types of back pain, so you know what you’re dealing with. With that in mind, here’s a close look at the common types of back pain.

Mechanical Back Pain

Mechanical back pain is just what it sounds like: One of the mechanical pieces of your back—the discs, spine, or joints—is out of whack, and it causes agonizing ongoing pain.

Mechanical back pain can be broken down into three subcategories. First, there’s flexion dominant back pain, in which pain will increase when you have to bend, sit, or lift.

Extension dominant back pain flares up when you must stand for long periods of time. This type of back pain is usually indicative of a problem with your spinal joints.

Finally, there’s neurogenic claudication, itself a subcategory of extension dominant pain. This is typically seen in people over 60, and is caused by compressed nerves in the back.

Inflammatory Back Pain

Unlike mechanical back pain and different types of back pain, inflammatory back pain isn’t caused by a misalignment in your spine or back. Rather, this type of pain occurs when your spinal joints become inflamed, and can be excruciatingly painful.

Another difference between mechanical back pain and inflammatory back pain: Inflammatory pain often starts when a person is under 35 years old, and isn’t necessarily offset by an injury.

Fortunately, anti-inflammatory medicine—including over-the-counter options—can offer relief to those suffering from inflammatory back pain.

Chronic Back Pain Versus Different Types of Back Pain

“Chronic pain” is pretty self-explanatory: It’s pain that is constant and inflicts a person over a long period of time. And unlike different types of back pain—which can also be very painful—chronic back pain stems from a pain disorder, in which your brain erroneously interprets different stimuli as being harmful to your body.

Anyone who has experienced chronic back pain can attest that it can completely upend your life and daily routine. But you don’t have to suffer forever; if these signs suggest you need advanced pain management, there are options available to you.

Get Help Today

As 25 percent of American workers can attest, back pain can be debilitating, and completely alter your routines. But help is possible—and the first step is to understand the different types of back pain.

If you found this post helpful, be sure to check out the other health and lifestyle-focused posts on our site!