August 18, 2021
Back pain can present itself in varying ways; a dull aching in the lower section of the spine, sharp pain that occurs only with certain physical activities, or other distressing symptoms. And the intensity of the pain varies from one person to the next.
Understanding the causes and symptoms of back pain enables pain management physicians to determine the most effective treatment plan for their individual patients who suffer from this type of pain.
Differentiating between the varied types of back pain first requires familiarity with common causes, risk factors and symptoms associated with pain in the upper, lower or middle back regions. Here are some of the most common causes for these pain conditions:
- Sprains / strains – These may occur from twisting or lifting something improperly, lifting something too heavy, or overstretching. Symptoms of these conditions may include muscle spasms, lower back stiffness and/or pain that may radiate into the buttocks.
- Spinal stenosis – A narrowing of the spinal column, which puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Spinal stenosis causes pain or numbness with walking and may eventually cause sensory loss and weakness in the legs.
- Disc degeneration – Occurs when the discs in the back deteriorate as part of the body’s aging process, losing their cushioning capability and leading to inflammation or instability. Pain is most often experienced when the degenerating disc affects the muscles, joint, nerve roots or other structures in the spine, resulting in muscle tension, spasms and/or tenderness in these structures or in the back or neck areas.
- Arthritis – Swelling, inflammation and/or stiffness in the back may be symptoms of this joint disease. Osteoarthritis, which typically affects people of middle age and older, is the result of a breakdown of bones and cartilage. These conditions produce pain, aching, stiffness and/or swelling in and around one or more joints.
- Sciatica – Caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, (the large nerve that runs through the buttocks and down the back of the leg.) This compression causes shock-like or burning pain in the lower back as well as pain through the buttocks and down one leg, sometimes extending to the foot.
- Inflammation / wear of the sacroiliac joint: Caused by swelling and wearing away of the joint cartilage that may be the result of an injury, arthritis, infection, or other factors. This often leads to pain in the lower back or buttocks and can extend down one or both legs.
- Herniated / ruptured discs – Typically caused by wear and tear on the spine, this condition can occur when the intervertebral discs become compressed and bulge outward or rupture, putting pressure on the nerves and causing pain in the lower back and/or hips.
- Radiculopathy (pinched nerve) – Caused by compression, inflammation and/or injury to a spinal nerve root. Pressure on the nerve root results in pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation may occur with this condition.
- Spondylolisthesis – Caused by vertebra in the lower spine slipping out of place and pinching the nerves exiting the spinal column. This may be the result of a traumatic injury such as a car accident, a fall, or sports injury, causing irritation and compression of the spine. Common symptoms include pain in the lower back or buttocks that may be exacerbated by movement, pain that travels from the back down one or both legs, leg weakness and difficulty walking.
- Skeletal imperfections – These include conditions such as scoliosis, (curvature of the spine,) lordosis, (spinal curve that arches too far inward,) and other congenital anomalies of the spine. These anomalies may cause excess pressure on the spine, resulting in pain and discomfort in the lower back and neck.
- Lifestyle factors – Certain daily habits and conditions may adversely affect your back, such as lifting heavy objects, being overweight, lack of exercise, or even slouching. Muscle tension in the back may be caused by emotional states such as stress, depression and anxiety.
Do You Recognize Any of These Pain Symptoms?
If you experience back pain due to any of the above conditions, or other types and causes of back pain not listed here, the pain management specialists at Riverside Pain Physicians can help. We will work with you to determine the cause of your pain and develop an individualized treatment plan to relieve your pain and restore quality of life.
Reach out to us today at Riverside Pain Physicians by calling 904.389.1010, or clicking here to make an appointment online.
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