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Common Causes of Back Pain

 

 

If you have come to this website, then you are probably one of the nearly 88 million Americans who currently suffer from chronic and severe back pain. Whether your pain is caused by sciatica, degenerative disc disease, a bulging or herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or any other condition, the result is likely the same; you are experiencing a chronic pain that severely interferes with your daily activities and your quality of life.


The cause of your pain may not be what you think it is. Even sophisticated testing procedures like MRI's don't always fully explain your pain. The most important fact to point out here is that back pain is typically the result of a structural issue in your body, and until the structure of your spine is properly addressed, then pain will persist.


If you are experiencing stabbing, pinching, burning, or numbing pain more frequently than not, and you would like to get rid of that pain for good so you can enjoy your life again, please read on.


Sciatica


Sciatica is the sensation of pain, tingling and/or numbness in the lower back, buttocks and/or legs. This pain is produced when the sciatic nerve is irritated. The sciatic nerve starts as many nerves near the spinal cord and runs down the back of each leg ending at the toes. The pain caused by this irritation can be radial, traveling along the path of the nerve towards the buttocks, legs, and toes. In addition to pain, numbness, muscular weakness, and difficulty moving the leg can occur. In some cases, pain is felt on only one side of the body.


Degenerative Disc Disease


While disc degeneration is normal during the aging process, and does not effect everyone, there are cases when a degenerative disc can become extremely painful. For these individuals, the spinal discs are not receiving the proper nutrients, water, and oxygen delivered by the blood supply; thereby causing the discs to dry out and tear or crack. The pain is a result of the weakened spinal structures pinching the surrounding nerves.


Bulging or Herniated Disc


A spinal disc is formed with a firm exterior and a soft, gel-like interior. When pressure builds up inside the disc, due to strenuous activity or stress, it can cause the disc to become deformed. When the spinal disc is injured, but does not rupture, a bulging disc is created. In most cases, a disc bulges under similar conditions as those that cause a herniated disc and comes with great pain. With increased or prolonged pressure, it often leads to a disc herniation, which is when the gel-like material spills out of it's interior pocket. This spilled material presses against a sensitive nerve root and causes severe pain that can travel into the buttocks and down towards the legs and toes.


Spinal Stenosis


When the canal space surrounding the spinal cord becomes constricted, it increases the pressure on the spinal cord causing pain. In some cases this pain radiates towards the buttocks and down the legs due to the sensitive nerves that are irritated. In addition, this condition is commonly present in patients with arthritis or joint inflammation.


Posterior Facet Syndrome


This condition is when the cartilage in between the facet joints of the spine wears down due to osteoarthritis of the interarticular vertebrae. These facets are not intended to bear the weight that the discs and vertebrae are. When this happens, the discs are brought closer together often pinching a pain-sensitive nerve around the spine, which causes lower back pain.


Spinal Arthritis


Even though arthritis is most commonly found among the joints of the fingers and knees, arthritis can occur in any joint of the body. When arthritis is present in the small joints within the spinal column, the results are usually severe pain and a loss of body function and mobility.

 

Dr. Joseph Virga
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