There is a 90% chance that in your lifetime back pain will bother you. Most of the time, the pain will go away within 6 to 12 weeks whether or not treatment is seen. Where does back pain come from? Here are six areas that cause low back pain and a brief description of each.
1. Spinal arthritis. The spine has facet joints on each side of the spine at every level. These joints contain cartilage just like a hip or a knee joint, and are subjected to arthritis with advancing age. A person may experience back pain on a regular basis due to spinal arthritis, which is also called facet syndrome. Or the pain may wax and wane every few months.
Approximately 30% of individuals who are experiencing back pain have it coming from spinal arthritis. Thankfully, there are excellent treatments for arthritis of the spine, such as radiofrequency ablation, medial branch blocks, physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, spinal decompression therapy and acupuncture.
2. Degenerative disc disease. There is an intravertebral disc at every level of the spine between the bony vertebrae. The disc ask as a shock absorber and under normal conditions contains 80% water along with 20% collagen and proteins.
When back pain is present, approximately 40% of the time it is due to degeneration of the disc. It is important to understand that the inner part of the disc has no nerve endings at all and cannot feel pain. However, the outer portion of the disc has lots of nerve endings and when degeneration and tears occur there, pain can be disabling. In younger to middle-aged individuals, degenerative disc disease can cause back pain that either occurs on a daily basis or flares up from time to time. But overall It causes 40% of back pain overall.
3. Sacroiliac joint pain. SI joint pain is the cause of back pain anywhere from 12 to 25% of the time. It is pretty much the forgotten stepchild when it comes to an evaluation for back pain. It is very important that the pain management doctor evaluate you to see if the SI joint may be contributing to the back problem. This pain is very treatable with physical therapy, medications, chiropractic treatment and interventional procedures.
4. Spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is a very common problem occurring in middle to elderly age individuals. It occurs when arthritis sets in, causing soft tissue and bony overgrowth in the spine. This can lead to pinching of multiple spinal nerve roots as they try to exit from the spinal canal. Spinal Stenosis can lead to back pain, buttock and hip pain, as well as sciatica type symptoms. Stenosis overlaps with spinal arthritis pain frequently.
5. Vertebral Compression Fracture. As individuals age, osteoporosis frequently sets in. Once that occurs, it is very common to experience compression fractures in the spine, which is when the vertebral body cannot sustain a person’s body weight. So a fracture occurs which may lead to chronic pain and disability for 3 to 6 months. Excellent treatment options for VCF’s are vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty procedures.
6. Muscle strain or Ligament sprain. These are the most common reasons for back pain and may occur secondary to an auto accident, sports injury, or a slip and fall injury. Treatment with a chiropractor and/or physical therapy may prove to alleviate the pain quickly. In addition, a TENS unit or short term opiates with a pain management doctor may help along with trigger point injections.
Other reasons that individuals experience back pain include spinal tumors and spinal instability from drama. Muscle spasms often occur secondary to degenerative this disease flareup, and something like fibromyalgia can also lead to tight areas that are painful in the back.
So there’s really more like 10 reasons, but above is a list of prominent six reasons for an individual to have chronic back pain. If you are experiencing acute or chronic back pain, help is available with pain management clinics. The US Pain Network connects those in pain with pain clinics nationwide. Simply visit THIS PAGE and put in your zip code to find those clinics closest to you!