“Oh my aching back!” Millions of people suffer from back pain, and there are numerous reasons behind it. Two people with back pain can have completely different causes. If you suffer from back pain, it can be difficult pinpointing what exactly is causing it. To figure this out, you should visit a doctor who can perform a variety of tests and examinations to determine the cause. Your doctor will be able to determine if your back pain is caused by a structural issue, a disease affecting the bones in your back, or another underlying issue. Here is more information on each of these.
Structural Issues issues involve problems with the way the bones in your back are structured and include out-of-place or damaged discs. Some examples of structural issues that could be the reason for your back pain are –
- Lumbar Herniated Disc – Spinal discs sit between the vertebrae and absorb shock as well as support the body. While discs don’t “slip,” a herniated disc often is called a slipped disc and occurs when the soft gel that cushions the vertebrae pushes out through a tear in the tougher exterior. Should that gel touch on a nerve, expect pain in any number of fashions – from sharp jagged pains to numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. A herniated disc can happen by injury, accident, or a condition that weakens the backbones. Expect medical intervention of some sort to manage your pain and repair the disc.
- Bulging Discs – A bulging disc happens when a disc goes through a crevice in the spine, causing it to extend beyond its normal space in the spine. Nearly all bulging discs –approximately 90% — occur in the lower back, or lumbar area, of the spine. The good news is that sometimes, bulging discs can repair themselves with minimal medical intervention. Should your bulging disc be more severe, expect medical intervention.
Diseases. A number of diseases and conditions can weaken the backbones and cause pain. The two most common examples are arthritis and osteoporosis.
- Osteoarthritis is your “wear and tear” condition that develops over time through overuse or when the cartilage or cushion between joints starts to break down causing pain, stiffness, and swelling.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is a little different; unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues, affecting the lining of the joints and causing painful swelling that can eventually erode the bone or deform the joint.
- Osteoporosis means porous bones because it eventually causes bones to look like a honeycomb from the inside, causing the bone to lose bone density, making them weak and brittle. Osteoporosis can make you more likely to develop fractures and other bone issues that can cause pain all over the body including the back.
Other Issues Back pain can also happen for reasons not directly related to the back. Here are some examples –
- Organ Issues – Figuring out what is causing your back pain could help you discover underlying health issues that you didn’t even know you had. Some organ issues can cause pain that travels to other body parts including the back. These organ issues include pelvic inflammatory disease, bladder, and kidney issues. Because these organs are close to the back, pain from the organs can radiate to the back.
- Sciatica – Sciatica refers to pain that travels along the sciatic nerve that goes from the lower back, across the buttocks, and down the legs. Sciatica can result from a number of conditions, to include a herniated disc or a bone spur. Because sciatica is a nerve pain issue that is caused by pressure put on it, treatment for the underlying issue is required to fix the back pain.
Unresolved back issues can get worse over time and the sooner you treat it, the easier it will be. The Personalized Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches has a wealth of knowledge and experience to help with your back pain and can help you pinpoint the cause and help you with a treatment plan to fix the issue. If you are suffering from back pain, call 561-733-5888 today to make an appointment with one of our experts.