Burning Back Pain

Learning What Can be Done and Deciding What to Do

Burning back pain can be very difficult to understand and even more difficult to cure. Learning about your symptoms and what is causing them makes it easier for you to decide what to do. It also makes you better able to participate in the decisions regarding your care, if you decide to see a doctor.






"many possible causes"

There are many possible causes up a burning pain. Muscle pain from injury or poor posture, skin infections, and herpes zoster as well as other causes of burning back pain are discussed on my page about Burning Upper Back Pain.

Other possible causes of back pain that must be considered would include pleurisy, cardiac pain, and pain from gastro-esophageal reflux disease.

These can all cause a burning sensation that some people describe as burning back pain.


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Burning Back Pain from Your Lungs

"from infection or environmental irritants"

The lungs fill up a large portion of the chest cavity and lung pain may radiate into the back or chest. Pleurisy may cause a burning back pain when the pleura becomes dry or inflamed.

The pleura is a membrane that covers the lungs. It is normally smooth and lubricated with fluid, allowing the lung to move smoothly inside of it.When the pleura becomes dry or inflamed, from infection or environmental irritants, it can cause pain with every breath.

"begins with an existing lung disease"

The pain may be felt in the back, the chest, or in the shoulder.  The pain is generally worse with deep breathing, and better with shallow breathing. Pleurisy usually begins with an existing lung disease, infection, or injury.  Things like a respiratory infection or pneumonia, asbestosis from asbestos exposure, or silicosis from exposure to silica dust can all cause pleurisy. 

"begins with treating the underlying cause"

Treatment of pleurisy begins with treating the underlying cause.  

Infections can be treated with antibiotics, and things like asbestosis and silicosis are first treated by removing the cause of the irritation.

When there is scarring some authorities recommend strapping the chest to minimize chest motion however this limits the breathing and coughing which is required to clear mucus from the airway.

Anti-inflammatories and systemic steroids such as prednisone can be very effective at controlling the inflammation and relieving the pain. In severe cases narcotic pain medication may be required for pain control.

Cardiac Pain

Occasionally pain from a heart problem can radiate to your back.

You may or may not be having chest pain. You need to consider other possible signs of a heart attack excessive sweating, tightness in your chest or shortness of breath, any unexplained weakness or fatigue; these may all be signs of a heart attack.

Image thanks to Mikael Haggstrom via Wikimedia Commons

If you're having any of these you should go to the emergency room or call your doctor right away.

Your doctor will want to check an electrocardiogram and blood work to determine if you're having a heart attack. If those are normal, then he can begin checking for other possible causes of your pain. The important thing is to rule out possible cardiac problems before permanent damage can occur.

Acid Reflux can cause Burning Back Pain

One of the most common causes of burning pain is gastro-esophageal reflux disease. This may affect your upper or middle back on the left or right side. This may also cause heartburn and chest pain.

This burning pain is from regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus. This happens because of excess acid or an incompetent sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus.

"a food diary can help"

The symptoms may be transient and variable making this sometimes difficult to diagnose. Keeping a food diary can help to determine if there is a connection between your diet and your symptoms.

Treatments may consist of antacids or proton pump inhibitors to reduce the amount of acid. Some people prefer to manage this with dietary and lifestyle changes. Things like eating small meals, avoiding fried and fatty foods, and avoiding food or the high acid content can help to control your burning back pain.

"manage these symptoms and control your reflux disease"

It is very important to manage these symptoms and control your reflux disease. Chronic acid reflux into the esophagus can cause permanent changes in the esophagus.

There are many possible causes a
burning back pain; these are
some of the most common.

Whenever you're having pain it is a sign that something is wrong. It is important that you learn what is causing your pain and what the treatment options are to relieve your pain.

If your pain is more than just annoying you need to see your doctor and evaluated. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to having the best outcome. In most cases ignoring your pain won't make it go away.



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