Spinal pain is usually characterized by discomfort felt in the lower back and neck region. The pain can become so severe that you are unable to continue with your day-to-day activities, and yet sitting down or lying down doesn’t always help either.
Severe back pain is so common worldwide that it is one of the main reasons why people miss work. Let’s talk about the causes of spinal pain and what can be done to find relief from this debilitating pain.
Reasons for Back Pain
There are several conditions that frequently cause spinal pain, including the following:
Each set of two adjacent vertebrae in the spine has a cushiony disc between them to keep them separated while allowing them to flex and bend together. The disc is made of hard outer cartilage and soft inner cartilage – and when there’s a perforation in the outer cartilage, some of the inner cartilage can protrude or “herniate” out. This rupture can irritate the surrounding nerves, resulting in nerve compression or inflammation of the nerve root.
A herniated disc can cause symptoms such as pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling in the neck, arm, leg, or buttocks. This is often due to age-related wear-and-tear and dehydration of the disc.
A bulging disc is when the disc isn’t herniated (broken), but some or all of it is bulging out between the two vertebrae it serves. The bulge can irritate nearby nerves along the spinal cord and can cause the following symptoms:
- If you have a bulging disc in your cervical spine (neck), it can cause radiating pain into your arms and fingers whenever you move your neck.
- If the bulging disc is in the thoracic region (mid-back), it can cause radiating pain into the chest or abdomen.
- If the bulging disc is in the lumbar region (lower back), you may experience pain, numbness, and weakness that radiates down into the buttocks and legs.
Degenerative Disc Disease
The normal aging process can cause the discs of the spine to dry out and degenerate. With disc degeneration, the inner portion of the disc begins to shrink – which results in less cushioning between the vertebrae, causing pain if the vertebrae touch or rub against each other.
Sciatic pain occurs when the sciatic nerve – which is the longest and largest nerve in the human body – becomes irritated or inflamed. This is usually due to a disc herniation or a bone spur causing a pinched nerve.
The symptoms of sciatica can include pain that starts in your lumbar region and travels down your leg, usually only one leg. If the pain becomes severe, it may require surgery to relieve the pain.
The canal housing the spine can become narrowed and tight as we get older, and this is called spinal stenosis. The resulting pain can be severe due to the nerves in your spine becoming irritated and inflamed.
Surgery may be necessary to address spinal stenosis. During the procedure, the spinal canal is opened further to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves. The surgeon may also remove bone spurs or make other repairs.
Spinal Pain Diagnosis and Treatment in Greater Detroit
Back pain is almost always caused by a problem with the spine. Here at Ahlgren Spine, our medical team will diagnose the cause of your back pain and then create a highly personalized treatment plan that works for you.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Ahlgren, call our team today at (248) 215-8080 or fill out our appointment request form now. We look forward to helping you get past the pain and back to enjoying life!