Spinal pain is often felt in the cervical (neck) or lumbar (lower back) region. Pain symptoms include stiffness, limited range of motion, weakness, and muscle spasms. Pain can turn chronic, especially without proper treatment. Pain can also radiate into the upper and lower extremities. For whatever reason, chronic spinal pain can keep you from your best performance at sports or work.
If you’re experiencing chronic pain (lasting several weeks) and wondering what could be the reason behind it? Below are several possible reasons for your chronic back pain.
A strain is a muscle or tendon injury. It could be due to overuse or repetitive motion. You can strain the muscles and tendons in the neck or lower back. The neck can be strained by poor postures, such as when you try to hunch forward or assume the forward head posture, which causes muscle overload. The lower back muscles and tendons can also become strained due to a sudden increase in the intensity of a workout, poor conditioning, and improper lifting. Without correction and intervention, a strain could weaken the tissues and become a chronic problem.
The spinal discs in the cervical and lumbar region of the spine can weaken, crack, and cause their jelly-like inside to slip through the cracks. If the herniated disc presses on a nerve, it can cause pain symptoms that may radiate to other body parts depending on the nerve affected. Disc herniation in the lumbar region can irritate the sciatic nerve, which can cause a burning sensation that begins in the lower back and travels down the buttock, leg, and foot. Herniated discs may not require surgery, but pain management is important as symptoms can get worse with time.
Another common cause of chronic spinal pain is osteoarthritis. Arthritis of the spine can be due to aging. The protective cartilage over the facet or sacroiliac joints can wear away and cause the vertebra to rub against each other. Excessive weight and certain medical conditions such as degenerative disc disease and diabetes can accelerate the progression of spine arthritis. Pain management is very important for people with spine osteoarthritis.
Spinal stenosis is defined as the narrowing of the space within the spinal canal. The spinal cord and nerves that travel through the spine can become compressed, causing pain. Osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, and spinal injuries can be responsible for causing spinal stenosis. A naturally narrow spinal canal can also put someone at risk for this condition.
There are many possible causes of chronic spinal pain. An accurate diagnosis is the most important step to ensuring you receive the right treatment for your condition.
Diagnosing Chronic Spinal Pain
It can be challenging to pinpoint the cause of chronic spinal pain. You will need a spine specialist to run some tests and evaluate your medical history to determine the cause of the pain. Without treatment, your quality of life could severely diminish.
Spine Doctor in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Royal Oak, Michigan
Dr. Bradley D. Ahlgren is a premier spine surgeon in the greater southeast Michigan area. Dr. Ahlrgen can treat chronic spinal pain that originates from injury, illness, or disease. We also participate in clinical research on new treatments and pain management techniques for spinal conditions. To make an appointment, call Ahlgren Spine at (248) 215-8080 or use our online form.