The World Health Organization says back pain is one of the most common medical conditions that many people suffer from worldwide. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, activity level, and lifestyle. However, not all back pain is the same, and there are plenty of causes.
Let’s take a look at the difference between chronic spinal pain and other types of back pain.
What Is Chronic Spinal Pain?
Most back pain starts with a dull ache that may progress into sharp pains. The condition may occasionally resolve on its own. Still, some medical issues can last for months, which can become unbearable.
Back pain can either be acute or chronic. An acute condition is temporary and only lasts a short time. A medical problem is tagged as chronic when the condition’s symptoms persist for three or more months. Chronic spinal pain is one of the most common types of back pain, characterized by persistent pain, stiffness, and motor function loss in the lower back region going up the neck. Acute back pain may lead to a chronic condition if it is left untreated.
Causes of Chronic Spinal Pain
Different things can cause spinal pain, such as spinal injuries, infections, or other medical problems. Your doctor will recommend that you undergo various diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your symptoms, such as:
The spinal column is your backbone. It protects the spinal cord and connects the brain to almost every muscle and nerve in the body. With aging or due to a medical problem, the space inside your spinal column can narrow. This narrowing can compress the nerves within, resulting in spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis can cause excruciating spinal pain, arms and legs numbness, and discomfort when walking.
Degenerative Disc Diseases
There is a disc between each of your vertebrae that provides cushioning and flexibility to your spinal column. Over time, these discs may bulge, shrink, or rupture, like in a herniated disc. These injuries are all degenerative, meaning an individual’s aging process can significantly contribute to chronic spinal pain.
Arthritis is a group of conditions referring to the inflammation of the joints. Spinal joints are no exception. Arthritis symptoms include the following:
- Restricted joint movement
Other Types of Back Pain
Pain or discomfort is not only felt in the spinal region of the back. There are other types of back pain, and each one has different causes. Unlike chronic spinal pain, the following are often tagged as acute types of back pain:
Back Muscle Pain
Back muscle pain can be caused by various things, such as:
- Poor posture
- Sports injuries
- Work-related injuries (such as heavy lifting)
These can cause muscle strains, spasms, and cramping, all of which can cause back pain. However, these conditions are often acute and can be resolved through ample rest.
Your nerves are susceptible to injuries, inflammation, or other damage. They can also get pinched or compressed due to other conditions, such as herniated discs. Nerves affected by other conditions can cause back pain. If left untreated, it may progress into a chronic spinal pain condition like sciatica.
Referred Back Pain
Referred pain is when you feel discomfort in your back, but the cause is from an injury or a different body part. Common causes of referred back pain include:
- Kidney stones
- Developing tumors
Back Pain Treatment in Rochester Hills, MI
Back pain has a variety of causes, and therefore treatment for each will be different. Treatment options range from conservative approaches like massage therapy to advanced medical procedures for more severe conditions.
If you are experiencing persistent back pain, contact any of our three Ahlgren Spine offices in Michigan by calling (248) 215-8080, or conveniently request an appointment online. Look for our board-certified and spine specialist, Dr. Bradley D. Ahlgren. We look forward to serving you!