All of the muscles, nerves, and discs in your back are at risk for a variety of different injuries, wear and tear disorders, and other orthopedic conditions. In addition to general overuse, some of the most common causes of back pain and discomfort include:
Spinal arthritis is also known as osteoarthritis. It is the breakdown of cartilage in the discs and joints in the back.
Causes: Although injuries can lead to arthritis, the most common cause of spinal arthritis is general wear and tear.
Symptoms: Pain and stiffness in the back and neck are the most common causes. Other symptoms include tingling and numbness in the legs and arms.
Conservative Treatments: Weight loss, strengthening exercises, electrical nerve stimulation, and massage therapy are all methods of treatment.
A spinal compression fracture is also known as a break.
Causes: Osteoporosis is the most common cause of compression fractures. However, spinal trauma can also cause fractures.
Symptoms: Compression fracture can cause severe pain, loss of bladder control, and weakness in the legs.
Conservative Treatments: Bracing, rest, and pain medications are approaches to treating compression fractures.
Surgery:The vertebra may need to be internally fixed in place to allow it to heal.
Degenerative Disc Disease
This condition is characterized by the discs in your spine losing fluid and developing tiny cracks.
Causes: Degenerative disc disease is a result of normal wear and tear due to aging.
Symptoms: Pain is the most common symptom, along with secondary conditions like herniated discs.
Conservative Treatments: Physical therapy, injections, and medications can be used to relieve symptoms.
Surgery:An artificial disc replacement may be needed in some cases.
Disc herniation occurs when the inner gel-like substances located in your discs are pushed through the outer layer, which puts pressure on nerves.
Causes: Disc herniation can happen with aging, especially because your discs become less flexible as you age. It can also happen if you do strenuous activity or heavy lifting.
Symptoms: The most common symptoms of a herniated disc include pain and weakness or numbness in the limbs.
Conservative Treatments: Ice therapy, heat therapy, rest, and epidural injections can all be used to manage symptoms of a herniated disc.
Surgery:In some cases, the disc may need to be surgically removed.
This is a type of pain that travels along the sciatic nerve (from your lower back down one leg).
Causes: Sciatica is most often caused by a herniated disc or bone spur that compresses the nerve.
Symptoms: Pain, numbness, and inflammation are the most common symptoms.
Conservative Treatments: Medications, physical therapy, and steroid injections can all help to relieve pain.
Surgery:Surgery to remove the herniated disc or bone spur that is pressing on the nerve may be needed.
This condition is characterized by a curve in the spine.
Causes: Scoliosis can be present at birth or can be caused by abnormal muscles or nerves. It can also develop following an injury.
Symptoms: Many patients experience no symptoms at all. However, as the condition progresses, it can lead to severe pain.
Conservative Treatments: Wearing a brace can slow progression of the curve.
Surgery:For severe cases of scoliosis, surgery may be needed to correct the spine’s curve and hold it in its rightful place.
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of your spinal canal.
Causes: Spain stenosis occurs with natural aging and wear and tear.
Symptoms: Pain in the back and pain and weakness in the legs are the most common symptoms.
Conservative Treatments: Lumbar traction therapy, physical therapy, steroid injections, and chiropractic care are used to treat spinal stenosis.
Surgery:Spinal fusion or surgical decompression may be used to relieve symptoms of spinal stenosis.
Spondylolisthesis is characterized by a vertebra sliding forward over the vertebra that is located beneath it.
Causes: This condition is caused by things that damage a joint, including stress fractures, arthritis, infections, injuries, and defective joints.
Symptoms: In some cases, there are no symptoms at all. Patients that do experience symptoms can have pain in the buttocks or lower back, in addition to weakness or numbness.
Conservative Treatments: Physical therapy and medications can be used to relieve symptoms.
Surgery:In cases of severe pain, surgery may be used to take pressure off the spinal cord or nerve by removing tissue or bone.