Back Pain

Back pain usually does not arise from a single incident. Instead, deterioration results from from repeated wear and tear over the years, in turn making you more vulnerable to serious injury and back pain. Often stress on your back comes from too much forward bending or heavy lifting, sitting or standing too much at your job, sports that involve impact or twisting, and poor posture. the common causes of back pain may include simple strains, slipped disks that the bracket herniated disc], fractures, pain superimposed on underlying conditions such as spinal stenosis or spondylolisthesis. Sometimes there may be underlying inflammatory conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis or dangerous conditions such as metastatic cancer. fortunately most back pain is self-limiting and usually resolves over a period days of a few days to a few weeks.

Strains and Spains
Most back pain stems from either muscle strains or joint and ligament sprains. Strains and sprains can occur when you bend too far or too often, lift a heavy load or twist suddenly. While activities like these can occur everyday, the damage may be mild enough not to cause inflammation, in which case you may not feel any pain. When the damage heals, however, it often creates scar tissue, which is weaker and less flexible than normal muscle and ligament. Over time the back becomes less flexible and strong and more prone to painful damage.

Herniated Disc
Herniated Disc is a common and painful disorder, and is also called a ruptured disc or prolapsed disc. It is sometimes erroneously referred to as a slipped disc, although there is no actual slippage. When a tear occurs in the annular portion of the disc, the soft nucleus pulposus can protrude into the spinal canal and compress a nerve root or the spinal cord. The damaged disc can also leak inflammatory fluid which inflames the nerve roots. The tear can be the result of degeneration, wear and tear, or trauma.

In addition to causing back pain, a herniated disc can cause pain in other parts of the body if it is compressing a nerve root. The exact area where pain will occur is determined by the particular root that is compressed. For example, if the herniated disc is in the lower back and the sciatic nerve root is compressed, the person may feel the pain and/or numbness known as sciatica running down the back of the leg. If its a cervical disc that’s herniated, neck and arm pain can result. While discs can take much abuse, they cannot repair themselves when torn. Rather, like the muscles and ligaments, they heal by forming scar tissue, which is weaker that normal tissue. Most disc herniations, however, heal without the need for surgery.

Back Injuries
Severe force—such as a car accident, a fall or a direct blow—can dislocate or fracture the vertebrae and/or rupture the ligaments, causing severe pain and swelling of the area. In the most serious cases, the spinal cord may be damaged, resulting in loss of sensation and possible motor function in areas below the injury.

Stress fractures, fractures caused by the repetitive jarring of a bone—often by over exercising, can also occur in the spine, most often in the lower back.

Spinal Stenosis
Spinal Stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal. This is most commonly caused by degeneration of the spine. Several factors can contribute to this degeneration, including wear and tear of the joints, bulging or herniated discs, arthritis, or the swelling and buckling of the back’s major ligament. Another cause of stenosis is spondylolisthesis (see below).

With stenosis, the spinal cord and nerves can become irritated and inflamed because there is less room for them to move. If the stenosis is in the lower back, it can cause pain in both the back and legs, with the pain becoming worse when walking or standing.

Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis
Caused by degeneration, trauma or congenital defects, spondylolysis is a weak arch in a vertebra in the lower region of the back that can cause instability in the vertebrae. When the muscles and ligaments holding the vertebrae in place become overworked, the vertebral body can slide forward—a process called spondylolisthesis. Nerves become pinched and cause pain in the back as well as sciatica. Spondylolisthesis can also occur in the cervical spine and may result from a neck injury or rheumatoid arthritis. Cervical spondylolisthesis usually causes neck pain and stiffness.

Ankylosing spondylitis
This inflammatory disease affects the joints between the vertebrae of the spines and the joint between the spine and pelvis, causing pain and stiffness, especially in the morning.

The joints in the neck and lower back can be affected by osteoarthritis—a disease in which the cartilage that lines the joints degenerates. This most often affects the spines of elderly people, particularly those who do heavy manual work or whose spines have already sustained injury.

Scoliosis, a deformity in which the spine is curved to one side, can also cause back pain. While it usually starts in adolescence, scoliosis can worsen with age. Whether or not treatment is necessary depends on the severity of the curve and whether or not it is causing pain and functional limitation.

Spinal Tumors
As with other bone cancers, tumors of the spine have usually spread from elsewhere in the body. Usually malignant, spinal tumors can cause the vertebrae to collapse and damage the spinal cord.

Conditions such as an infection in the kidney, tuberculosis, discitis, or influenza or other virus infections, may cause backaches that are sometimes quite severe.