There are several different causes of burning back pain, but the most common are weak or tight muscles or joints, inflammation, and stress. Other reasons can include trauma, sunburn, a cerebrovascular accident, burns from exposure to a heat source or chemical, neuropathy, or peripheral artery disease (PAD). Diabetes may also cause pain in the upper or lower back. Unhealthy joints or a pelvis that is not balanced can result in fiery pain in the back as well.
When muscles or joints are used often, they can become strained. The day-to-day activities that a person puts his back muscles through can cause the muscles to become tired, and this often causes burning back pain. Although only one area may be affected, the muscles and joints in the back are connected to other major areas of the body — such as the ribs and spine — so the burning sensation may be felt all over. This burning can sometimes even be felt on the skin.
Inflammation generally occurs due to an increased amount of strain felt by the joints and muscles in a person’s back. A person that was already experiencing pain and burning in one area of his back might begin to feel more burning pain if inflammation develops. The area that is affected may feel tender to the touch, swollen, and tense. In some cases, treatment for inflammation may include hot or cold compresses, anti-inflammatory medications, and rest.
Although some people are not aware of the possibility, extreme psychological stress can also cause burning back pain. Many people try to come up with a physical reason for such symptoms, when emotional issues may be the actual cause of the problem. Treatment for emotional problems can reduce or eliminate a patient's back pain. Some treatments that may be recommended for a person suffering from this type of pain may be counseling, exercise, anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications, and rest.
To obtain a correct diagnosis, a doctor will generally run several different tests. First, though, he will most likely ask for a thorough medical history. This can help the physician to decide which tests are needed, and steer him in the direction of a diagnosis. A physical exam will also be done by the doctor. Tests like x-rays, CT scans, bone scans, MRIs, myelograms, and blood tests may also be used to determine what is causing burning back pain.