What Causes Back Pain?

Pain in lower back
Back Pain

One of the most common patient complaints is back pain and most of us will experience it at one time or another. The good thing is that about half of those who experience the discomfort of back pain will find relief in about 2 weeks; and nearly all will be relieved of the pain within 3 months time no matter what type of treatment options are pursued. Most of the time back pain is due to muscular strain which is resolved in time since muscles receive plenty of blood flow. A solid supply of blood will bring the needed proteins and nutrients to help healing occur. Back pain can be a minor irritation, or it can be very severe; for many it can be debilitating. For individuals under the age of 45, back pain is the leading cause of disability. It is important to see a physician if back pain is intense, limits your mobility, or cannot be controlled with over the counter medications.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is caused when the spaces in the spine become narrowed which puts additional pressure on the nerves and spinal cord. Most of the time, spinal stenosis is located in either the region of the neck or the lower back. This back pain is caused by aging since the ligaments tend to become thicker with age. As the ligaments thicken, spurs can develop on the bones of the spine and put pressure on the spinal cord. Deterioration of discs which are designed to provide cushioning for the vertebrae can break down which will cause the spaces in the spine to narrow. Back pain caused by spinal stenosis is typically felt in the lower portions of the back; but may also be located in the legs. This condition can also lead to pinched nerves which can affect the strength of the muscles. The pain associated with spinal stenosis occurs over a period of a few years and does not typically happen all of a sudden.

Pinched Nerve

Pinched nerves are commonly in the spinal area and are many times caused by pressure from the nearby tendons or by a herniated disc which puts pressure on the root of the nerve. Working at a job or participating in any activity which demands that an individual repeats the same movement over and over can put extra pressure in one area. Obesity and osteoarthritis can also be contributing factors which can contribute to pinched nerves. Poor posture can also contribute to a pinched nerve in many cases. Once the pressure is completely relieved, then the back pain will go away as well. The pressure on a pinched nerve does not typically cause any type of permanent damage but can be painful while it lasts. When there is no relief from a pinched nerve it can cause chronic pain and permanent damage in some individuals.

Slipped Disc

The spine consists of a stack of vertebrae and discs. Vertebrae are each an individual bone but the discs are a softer, cushion like material. A sick is structurally comparable to a jelly donut in that the inside is soft and mushy; and the exterior provides a tougher encasing. When a disc slips or ruptures the exterior of the disc cracks and allows the softer insides to leak out of the encasement. This can cause pain and irritation to all of the nerves that are nearby. It can also cause extremities to feel weak or numb. A slipped disc commonly occurs when an individual lifts a heavy object incorrectly. By lifting an object with the back it puts too much pressure on the spine and causes the disc to rupture.

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