can a hernia cause back pain

Can Hernia Cause Back Pain: Symptoms and Treatment

Pain Topics

Many of us are familiar with the typical symptoms associated with hernias: bulging, discomfort, and localized pain. But when it comes to broader implications, an intriguing question arises – how can hernia cause back pain?

This article ventures into the heart of this query, exploring the intricate relationship between hernias and the health of our backs. If you’ve ever pondered this connection or are facing symptoms that raise this question, you’re in the right place. Join us as we unravel the mystery behind this medical problem.

Types of hernia

Hernias, which involve an organ or tissue protruding through an opening in the surrounding muscle or connective tissue, is a prevalent medical concern. While most people associate hernias primarily with the abdominal wall, the reality is that these protrusions can occur in various regions of the body, each with its unique set of symptoms and considerations.

Understanding Different Hernias:

  1. Inguinal Hernia: One of the most common types of hernias, inguinal hernias occur when a portion of the intestine pushes through the lower abdomen or groin area. This often results in a bulge that can be painful, especially during activities like lifting or during a bowel movement.
  2. Hiatal Hernia: This hernia involves a part of the stomach pushing up into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm. While smaller hiatal hernias might be asymptomatic, larger ones can cause acid reflux and abdominal pain.
  3. Abdominal Hernia: Beyond the inguinal type, other abdominal hernias can develop when internal organs push through a weakened abdominal wall section. This can result in visible bulging, discomfort, and sometimes severe pain.
  4. Lumbar Triangle Hernia: A rarer type, lumbar hernias, specifically lumbar triangle hernias, occur when tissue pushes through weak points in the lumbar region. These hernias can lead to back pain and be confused with more common conditions like a herniated disc.
  5. Spinal Hernia (Herniated Disc): Contrary to hernias involving the abdomen or groin area, a spinal hernia pertains to the spine. Also known as a herniated disc, it occurs when the soft inner material of a disc protrudes through its tougher outer layer, sometimes compressing a spinal nerve. This can cause radiating pain, often called sciatica, when the herniated lumbar disc affects the lower back.



Can a hernia cause back pain?

Hernias, typically characterized by an organ or tissue pushing through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle or tissue, predominantly manifest in areas like the abdomen or groin. Yet, many wonder about their potential link to back pain, a prevalent complaint in adults. While hernias, especially in the abdominal region, primarily cause localized discomfort and severe pain, there are certain scenarios where they might be implicated in back pain:

  1. Location Matters: Not all hernias can lead to back pain. However, lumbar hernias, which occur in the lower back region, can directly result in back discomfort due to their location.
  2. Referred Pain: Even if a hernia isn’t directly located in the back, it might lead to referred pain in the back, especially if nearby nerves are affected.
  3. Postural Changes: Large hernias, particularly those in the abdominal region, can alter an individual’s posture, potentially leading to strain and subsequent pain in the back.
  4. Complications: On rare occasions, a herniated disc, a form of spinal hernia, can mimic or be mistaken for an abdominal hernia, leading to back pain when the protruding disc presses on nearby nerves.

In summary, while not all hernias directly cause back pain, a nuanced relationship exists between the two. Proper diagnosis and understanding of the nature of one’s hernia are pivotal in effectively addressing any associated back pain. If you suspect a hernia might be the root of your back pain-caused discomfort, a consultation with a medical professional is essential.

What are the causes of a herniated disc?

lumbar triangle hernia

A herniated disc, often called a slipped or ruptured disc, represents one of the more common spinal ailments. Situated between the vertebrae, discs act as cushions, absorbing the shocks our spine endures daily. When one of these discs is compromised, its inner gel-like content can protrude, causing a herniation. Understanding a herniated disc’s root causes is crucial in prevention and treatment.

  1. Aging: With age, discs lose flexibility and hydration, increasing the risk of tears and ruptures, even with minor strains.
  2. Physical Strain: Heavy lifting, especially without proper technique, can place undue stress on the lower back, precipitating a herniation.
  3. Traumatic Injury: Sudden traumas, like a fall or accident, can cause immediate damage to the disc, leading to herniation.
  4. Genetics: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition that makes their discs more susceptible to herniation.
  5. Sedentary Lifestyle: Prolonged sitting and lack of regular physical activity can weaken the spinal structures, making them more prone to disc-related issues.
  6. Body Weight: Being overweight or obese can increase the pressure on the spine and discs, elevating the risk of herniation.

A combination of lifestyle factors, physical events, and genetic predispositions can contribute to the onset of a herniated disc. Recognizing these factors is vital for individuals looking to maintain spine health and those seeking remedies for existing spinal concerns.

What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?

While ‘hernia’ and ‘herniated disc’ are often used interchangeably, they denote different medical conditions. Unlike abdominal hernias, where tissue pushes through the abdominal cavity, a herniated disc, sometimes referred to as a slipped disc, prolapsed disc, or ruptured disc, specifically relates to the spine. When a disc, a cushion between the vertebrae, becomes damaged, its inner material can leak. This bulging hernia presses on the nearby nerves, leading to a cascade of symptoms.

  1. Localized and Shooting Pain: The most common symptom of a herniated disk is pain. Depending on where the affected disc is, this pain can manifest in the neck or lower back. If the bulging hernia presses on spinal nerves, it can cause shooting pain, often down the legs or arms.
  2. Numbness or Tingling: Due to the involvement of spinal nerves, there’s often a sensation of numbness or tingling in the area served by those nerves.
  3. Weakness: Muscles serviced by affected nerves might weaken, leading to stumbling or impaired lifting.
  4. Referred Pain: Unlike direct hernia-related pain, referred pain is felt at a location away from the hernia site. For instance, a herniated disk in the lower spine might cause groin pain.
  5. Sciatica: If the herniated disc presses on the sciatic nerve, it can cause pain that radiates down the back of the leg, known as sciatica.
  6. Persistent Pain: While some experience pain only during specific activities, others might grapple with persistent pain that necessitates pain management strategies.

Recognizing these symptoms is paramount. If you experience pain, especially when accompanied by numbness or weakness, seeking medical attention is crucial. A physical examination can help discern if the distress is due to a herniated disc or spinal or abdominal hernias. Early diagnosis and intervention relieve pain and pave the way for physical therapy for optimal recovery and maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle to prevent further complications.

Hernia treatment

lumbar triangle hernia

With several hernia types and varied manifestations, treatment approaches are tailored to the specific needs of the patient and the nature of the hernia. Let’s delve into the multifaceted world of hernia treatment, highlighting the key modalities and considerations involved.

Understanding the Diagnosis Process:

  1. Physical Exam: A thorough physical exam is the first step in any treatment plan. By feeling a bulge in the lower abdomen or other affected areas, doctors can often diagnose the presence of a hernia.
  2. Imaging Tests: To get a clearer picture of the hernia type and its severity, doctors might recommend imaging tests, which can provide detailed visuals of the affected area.

Non-Surgical Treatments:

  1. Lifestyle Modifications: Not all hernias require immediate surgical intervention. Sometimes, simple changes like avoiding excessive strain, especially during bowel movements, can prevent hernias from worsening.
  2. Proper Body Mechanics: Employing proper body mechanics can reduce the chances of hernia aggravation. This might include techniques to lift objects properly without causing excessive strain.
  3. Medications: Doctors might prescribe specific medications to address symptoms like acid reflux in the case of hiatal hernias or reduce inflammation in cases where hernias irritate nerves.
  4. Physical Therapy Techniques: Therapeutic exercises and methods to relax muscles can provide temporary relief, especially in cases where disc ruptures or hernias affect the spine.

Surgical Treatments:

  1. When is Surgery Needed?: While not all hernias require surgery, those that cause persistent pain, tingling sensations, or other complications often necessitate surgical repair. Furthermore, hernias that pose a risk of cutting off blood flow to vital organs demand immediate medical attention and often surgical intervention.
  2. Surgical Repair Techniques: Various surgical techniques can be employed depending on the hernia’s location and severity. The primary aim is to return the protruding tissue and reinforce the weakened area.
  3. Post-Surgical Care: Following surgical repair, rest and activity modification are essential to ensure healing without complications. Physical therapy might also strengthen the area and prevent future occurrences.

In wrapping up, it’s evident that hernia treatment is a nuanced journey, molded by the type and severity of the hernia, the patient’s overall health, and other factors. Suppose you suspect or have been diagnosed with a hernia. In that case, it’s vital to consult with healthcare professionals to determine the best treatment pathway, whether non-surgical management or surgical intervention. Remember, timely and appropriate treatment alleviates hernia pain symptoms and safeguards against potential complications.


The intricate relationship between hernias and their potential impact on our health cannot be understated. If you are still wondering if hernia can cause back pain, then, answering that question isn’t easy. While not every hernia directly leads to back pain or discomfort, understanding the potential link and staying informed is crucial. If you or someone you know grapples with this query, seeking expert medical advice is paramount. Ensuring that our health concerns are addressed with clarity and precision is the cornerstone of comprehensive care.


Herniated disk – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Herniated Disk in the Lower Back – OrthoInfo – AAOS–conditions/herniated-disk-in-the-lower-back/

Can a Hernia Cause Back Pain? Symptoms and Treatment

Can a hernia cause back pain?

Hernia – NHS

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