What Causes Burning Back Pain?

Burning of the skin is often referred to "pins and needles" and is medically known as paresthesia. These symptoms most often begin with tingling and then may turn into a numb feeling. Many people often complain of loss of feeling, but may still feel a burning sensation with activity or to the touch. When there is a burning sensation, it is often because of an injury, nerve damage, or sign of illness. The exact cause can usually be pinpointed to the location of the sensation. In the back, it may be a pinched nerve or injury to one of the nerves near the spinal cord. This article will help you understand this condition, how it happens and how it is managed.

Causes of Burning Sensation in Back

Burning sensation may be due to the following health conditions. It is important to always check with your doctor to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Causes may include:

1. Back Injury

The back consists of muscles, tendons, nerves, and bones. This part of your body is very sensitive and can be injured if you use it wrong. This can damage delicate tissues resulting in herniated discs, curvature of the spine, osteoarthritis, and fractures of the back.

2. Burns/ Frostbite

Burns to the skin caused by hot liquids and too much sun may cause burning of the skin on the back. Frostbite is from the skin becoming too cold and freezing. This can cause burning sensations and then numbness.

3. Nerve Disorders

  • Multiple sclerosis: This is a condition that affects the nerves in the body. It can damage the outside protective cover of the nerves. It can cause a burning sensation in back as well as in many different areas of the body.
  • Peripheral nerve disorders: These types of disorders are caused by damage to the nerves in the body. A few of the causes are diabetes and leprosy. The blood supply to the nerves is cut off and the nerves begin to degrade and can cause a burning sensation and numbness to the affected body part.
  • Neuralgia: This is a type of nerve irritation that is caused by things like shingles, bone pressure, trauma, pressure and diabetes. The nerve pain feels like a burning sensation all along the nerve plane.
  • Central pain syndrome: This is caused by nerve damage in the body's central nervous system. This can be caused by cerebrovascular accident (stroke), Parkinson's disease, pressure from a tumor, damage to the spine, and epilepsy.
  • Sciatica: This is a very important nerve that runs from the lower back down the legs. This is a major nerve that controls your leg and feet movements and damage can be very painful. Sciatica usually comes from a lower back injury, herniated disc, or spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal). This condition may start out as a severe pain or a mild burning sensation.

4. Peripheral Vascular Disease

Lack of blood flow to the veins causes damage to them. This can result in a burning sensation or burning pain in the area.

5. Herniated Disk

Misuse of the back can cause a disc to slip and bulge. This results in a herniation that can result in burning pain, back pain, and immobility of the back.

6. Calcium Deficiency

Low calcium can leach calcium out of the bones and cause pain. This is known as osteoporosis and can lead to a burning sensation in back and back pain. One condition that leads to calcium deficiency in the body is called hypoparathyroidism. Other causes include inadequate dietary intake of calcium or deficiency of vitamin D.

7. Cervical Spondylosis

Age, wear, and tear can affect the joints in the neck area and cause a burning sensation in your upper back and neck area. It is also known as cervical arthritis. This condition can also be caused by injuries and the type of work that you do. Neck injuries can be serious and you need to see your doctor immediately if you have other symptoms like loss of bowel or bladder control or trouble breathing.

8. Whiplash

Any sudden back and forth movement of the neck and damage the delicate soft tissues. This often happens in car crashes and can lead to a burning sensation in the upper back area and neck.

9. GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

A burning sensation in the middle of the back may be caused by acid reflux from the stomach. The acid can leak back up into the esophagus and cause pain in the chest, upper stomach, and burning sensations.

10. Beriberi

This is a condition caused by lack of vitamin B-1. There are two different types, both wet and dry. The wet type causes decrease in heart function and can lead to heart failure. The dry type affects the nerves and can cause muscle weakness, numbness, burning sensations, and in severe cases, paralysis. This condition needs to be addressed and treated or it can be fatal. It is important to include plenty of foods that contain vitamin B-1 to prevent this disease. Eat plenty of meats, whole grains, and dairy.


Treatments for burning sensation in back depend on the cause. Mild pain that is temporary and not due to injury may go away on its own. If you have a long-term nagging burning pain in your back, it is important to see your doctor for evaluation and treatment. Some causes can be very serious and need treatment right away.

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