Lower Back Pain Muscle vs. Disc – Symptoms & Treatments

The lower back consists of different muscles and bones. Any pain caused in the lower back can be either due to muscle or disc.

What Will I learn

Before getting any treatment, you should know the exact area of the pain. Pain can be in muscles or discs.

Lower Back Pain Muscle vs. Disc – Definitions

To identify your lower back pain, muscle or disc related, you should know the difference between both pains. So you can choose the best healing solution for your back pain.

Muscle pain and sic pain symptoms and treatment options are described below for better understanding.

Muscle Pain:

The human back muscle consists of several muscles. The Erector spine, trapezius, rhomboid, and latissimus dorsi are the main supporting muscles of the back. They stabilize the back over the shoulders, core, and lower back.  

Muscle pain can be caused due to any heavy exercises. During exercise, your muscles feel stressed. This stress can last for 2-3 days. If the pain does not improve after three days, consult a physician.

Pain - Lower Back Pain Muscle vs. Disc

Sometimes due to this stress, the muscle fiber breaks down and causes muscle pain. This stress cause pain in joints, especially in the shoulders and lower back.

Disc Pain:

The human spine consists of 24 bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae have spinal discs between every bone. The spinal disc helps in providing a range of motion and stability to the spine. It is flat and round.

The spinal disc performs as a shock absorber in the spine. It allows us to bend and twist. The spinal disc and vertebra work together to protect the spinal cord and other nerves supporting our back.

Disc pain is caused when the spinal disc slips out of its original place. This displacement causes sharp pain in the back. The disc can be replaced due to lifting heavy objects. Sometimes it can be due to aging factors.

Lower Back Pain Muscle vs. Disc – Symptoms

When you have pain in the lower back, try to identify whether it’s muscle or disc pain. There are certain ways through which you can have an idea about your pain. First, differentiate between both types of pain.

Some basic standards to identify the pain type are as follows;

Symptoms Of Muscle Strain:

If you have the following symptoms, you have a muscle strain. To recognize if it’s a muscle strain, examine yourself first.

1. Difficulty In Maintaining A Straight Posture:

One of the most common signs of muscle pain is poor posture. If you find it difficult to maintain a straight posture, you might have muscle pain in your back.

Muscles in your back become tenser when they are under stress. That’s why they make it hard to have a straight posture.

2. Feeling Weakness In Back Muscle:

Muscle pain makes the tissues in the back weak and tired. Back muscles can’t perform well during this stress and weakness.

It is a muscle strain if you feel tiredness or weakness in your lower back while resting or doing any activity. As a result, you’ll feel a sharp pain in your back. This condition is also called a muscle spasm.

3. If You Notice A Stiff Back:

A stiff back is another sign of muscle pain in the back. It is more commonly noticed when you bend or twist. If you feel pain while bending or twisting, it is muscle pain.

When the back muscles become tight, they make it difficult to move easily. In addition, you will feel a sharp pain in your back while waking up or twisting.

4. If Pain Lasts For More Than 2 Weeks:

Muscle pain can get better within 1.5 – 2 weeks by taking some rest. Yet, it does not stay for a longer time. If you have been having pain for more than two weeks, it is due to an injury in your back.

back pain - Lower Back Pain Muscle vs. Disc

An injury in the back may take more than 2 – 3 weeks to recover. Consult your physician for proper treatment of the injury.

Symptoms Of Disc Pain:

To recognize if its a slipped disc or disc pain follow these points;

1. If Pain Is Returning:

Lower back pain caused by the slipped disc can get better on its own after taking proper rest. Yet, the pain will return if you do the same hard activities again. This pain can be chronic.

Avoid doing any hard exercises and tough activities. Eliminate activities that insert pressure on your lower back.

2. If You Have Pain In Different Areas:

The disc is connected with the spine and other body muscles. So when you feel pain in different body areas, it is due to slipped discs—especially in the legs, neck, and back.

The pain in spinal cord makes it hard for other body parts to support the back. Disc pain makes it hard to balance the back and maintain a straight posture.

3. Feeling Of Less Strength In Arms:

If you feel less strength in your arms, it is possibly due to slipped disc. Disc pain affects the arms and legs.

Disc pain makes the arms and back muscles weaken. You will not feel any power to lift heavy objects easily.

Lower Back Pain Muscle vs. Disc – Treatments

Treatment varies according to your type of lower back pain. Before getting any treatment, you should get examined properly by the doctor. A doctor can suggest better treatment options according to your back pain.

Different treatment options can cure muscle pain and disc pain. Some treatments are given below;

Treatments For Muscle Pain:

Muscle pain needs the following treatment options for back pain.

1. Correct Your Posture:

Choose an exercise that stables your back when you can correct your posture and keep it straight. You can cure lower back pain due to muscle pain.

Doctors may recommend yoga, exercise, swimming, and walking to improve your posture.

Try to correct your posture while sitting or walking. Stop lifting any heavy objects for a longer time. It can cause lower back pain.

2. Try Heat And Cold Therapy:

Heat and cold therapy are used to reduce swelling. Your doctor may prescribe either hot or cold therapy.

Heat therapy helps in increasing the blood flow in the body. It makes blood circulation better. However, avoid using heat pads for a long time. They can burn your skin.

Cold therapy helps in curing forceful lower back pain. In addition, you can use ice packs for pain relief. Ice packs can be applied to the body for 20 – 25 minutes.

3. Exercise With Stretching:

Lower back pain can be cured with proper exercise and stretching. Stretching relaxes the muscles and tissues in the body. It helps release nervous tissues from the body and makes it work more properly.

muscle Pain - Lower Back Pain Muscle vs. Disc

Exercise make muscles stronger and more flexible. Exercising daily can relax the tight tissues and muscles of the body. Back pain caused due to tight muscles.

4. Try Massage:

Massage therapists use techniques of hands and fingers to relax tight tissues. It softens the muscles and relieves pain.

It is beneficial for short-term lower back pain. Different types of Massage are used according to your pain level, either acute or chronic.

Treatment For Disc Pain:

Disc pain can be cured by following these treatments;

1. Ice And Heat Therapy:

If disc pain is not severe, you can use ice or heat therapy to relieve the pain. Heat therapy stimulates the blood flow and circulation in the body. It also increases the oxygen flow to the other body parts.

Ice packs apply ice therapy. Ice packs help in the reduction of swelling in the body. In addition, it decreases the tenderness of spinal nerves.

2. Stem Cell Disc Regeneration:

The purpose of stem cell disc regeneration aims to bring back the healthy state of the damaged disc. In addition, this process gives quick relief from lower back pain caused due to slipped discs.  

Stem cell regeneration uses the body’s stem cells. It doesn’t cause any opposing reaction in the body. So, it is considered an effective way to cure slipped discs.

3. Physiotherapy:

Physiotherapy is one of the essential treatment options for slipped discs. It is a safe technique for pain relief and improves the range of motion. In addition, it helps in joint utilization and normalizes their functions.

Physiotherapist guide you better about which exercises you should adopt for back pain. Some movements you should avoid to reduce lower back pain.

4. Change Your Diet:

Weight is the major reason for disc pain. Heavy inserts pressure on your back. It makes it difficult for the lower back to bear all the weight. That’s why some people face lower back pain due to discs.

Try to maintain a healthy diet and control your weight. Adopt different exercises to control your weight. It will make your pain go away.

When To Consult A Physician

Lower back pain is hitting many people nowadays. It affects the quality of life and limits daily activities. It can be due to muscle pain or disc pain (slipped disc).

You should know the initial symptoms and the difference between muscle and disc pain. Then, it can make it easy for you to get treatment according to your pain.

You should check yourself completely when your pain lasts more than two weeks. It may be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition. Then, the doctor can suggest better treatment options regarding the pain.


Lower back pain needs proper care and treatment. It would be best if you did not ignore the initial symptoms of back pain. Get yourself checked before it gets worse. Normal back pain doesn’t last more than two weeks.

Some home treatments can cure normal back pain, i.e., exercises, yoga, and ice or heat therapy. Changing your daily activities and routine would be best to reduce lower back pain.

A healthy diet can make your body healthier and effectively fight acute back pain. Being overweight causes lower back pain, so try to lose weight.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Back Pain Muscle Or Disc Related?

Pain in the lower back can be caused by muscle or disc pain. You should have enough knowledge about disc and muscle pain to differentiate.

The doctor may prescribe treatment according to your pain type. Muscle pain and disc pain needs a different type of treatments for the lower back. Lower back pain can be due to any serious injury. Get yourself checked.

2. How Long Does Lower Back Pain Last?

Acute lower back pain can last for max 2 weeks. If your back pain does not get better after 2 weeks, it may be due to a serious injury. The spinal cord becomes weak and can’t support the back.

Poor posture will be a sign of serious lower back pain. Weakness in the back makes it difficult to maintain a straight posture for a long time. If not treated at the initial stage, back pain can get severe.

Terry Chimes

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