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Burning or Numbness in Your Back? You're Not Alone.

Back pain can manifest itself in many different ways, from tight muscles, sharp pain and even a burning sensation, or a numb or tingling feeling in your back. With more than 80 percent of Americans experiencing back pain at least once in their life, you are not alone if you have experienced any of these back symptoms. 

What’s causing a burning sensation in my back?

A burning sensation in your back can feel hot and achy or it can feel like pins and needles – usually in a concentrated section of your back. There are many different issues that can cause a burning sensation, but a few of the most common reasons include:

  • Back injury
  • Sciatica
  • Herniated or bulging disc
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Gastroesphageal reflux disease

Back injury

An injury to your back muscles, tendons or bones can create a burning sensation around the injured area. A back injury can occur as a result of a traumatic accident, such as a fall or car crash. It can also happen from lifting or twisting the wrong way. Conditions, like degenerative disc disease, bone spurs and spinal stenosis, can also cause injury to the bones, muscles and tendons in your back.


Damage to your sciatic nerve can create a burning sensation in your lower back, buttock or along one leg. Sciatica often goes away on its own, but there are times when treatment is required.

Herniated or bulging disc

A herniated, or bulging, disc is a common back injury. It most often occurs as a result of misusing the back – picking up an item that’s too heavy, twisting or moving awkwardly or after strenuous exercise or activity. It can create a burning or tingling sensation around the area of the affected disc, and sometimes along one leg. 


Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one disc slips out of place and presses into the disc below. This most often occurs as a result of natural wear and tear along the spine. It is also known as cervical arthritis.  

Gastroesphageal reflux disease (GERD)

Indigestion can also be to blame for a burning sensation in your back. If you experience a burning in your back or chest after you eat, then you may have gastroesphageal reflux disease. 

What’s causing numbness or tingling in my back?

Numbness is another common symptom of back pain or spinal issue. It can range from simply bothersome to alarming when it impacts your daily activities. Several issues can cause you to feel tingling or numbness in your back, including a pinched nerve, sciatica or spinal stenosis.

Pinched nerve

A pinched nerve often causes the tingling sensation you may feel in your back. Pinched nerves can occur as a result of many other issues, including a back injury, degenerative disc disease or a herniated disc.


Damage to the sciatic nerve can cause a range of painful symptoms – ranging from tingling and numbness or a burning sensation in the back or leg to what’s often described as feeling like a jolt of electricity down the entire leg, all the way to the foot. 

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spinal cavity. This condition can happen as a result of many different issues, ranging from scoliosis, multiple sclerosis, cervical arthritis to a back injury. 

These are just a few conditions that can cause a burning sensation or numbness and tingling in your back. If you experience any serious symptoms, like loss of bladder or bowel control, you should seek medical attention immediately. You should also schedule an appointment with your doctor if the burning or numbness lasts longer than a few days and doesn’t get better on its own or with rest and over-the-counter pain medication.