Experts estimate that up to 80 percent of adults in the United States have experienced back pain. Your spinal discs are between vertebrae. These spinal discs are rubbery pads, acting as a cushion between the bones of your spinal column. Over the course of regular activity — office work, sports, or even inactivity — the spine might suffer injuries or disease.
Are you dealing with spinal disc pain? It can have different causes from person to person. Here are the possible health conditions you may be experiencing:
Back Sprains And Strains
Sprains and strains occur when you overexert yourself. It may also happen when your ligaments become twisted beyond their limits. These are two of the most common spine injuries in the workplace. If you play sports or perform intense workouts, you may also have experienced a back sprain or strain.
On a good note, sprains and strains are usually responsive to rest and home remedies. During the first two days, applying ice packs can help ease the pain. You can also take pain medications, such as ibuprofen. Remember to take it easy and avoid any movement or activities that further stress your back.
If your symptoms do not get better within the week, it is best to seek medical help. Your doctor will be able to perform a more in-depth assessment of what might be causing your spinal disc pain. As such, try to think of ways to best describe your back pain. You may have an underlying medical concern, such as a bulging disc or a herniated disc.
As you age, your spinal discs can dry out due to dehydration in the cartilage. When this happens, spinal discs can lose their strength and flatten out. Your spinal discs will then compress and bulge out, hence the term “bulging disc.” This condition can lead to spinal disc pain and mobility challenges.
Symptoms include back pain that can worsen with sneezing, movement, or standing for extended periods. You may also feel muscle spasms in your back. Other signs include numbness and weakening of your leg muscles.
The number one factor contributing to a bulging disc is age. This is because your spinal discs will show wear and tear as time goes by. People over the age of 60 are at a higher risk of having a bulging disc. Dehydration in the discs occurs naturally with age. Therefore, having an active lifestyle is significant to maintaining healthy spinal discs.
Other risk factors to watch out for include:
- Bad posture
- Sudden trauma to the back
A spine specialist will usually perform non-invasive methods to evaluate your discs. You may be subject to a physical exam, X-rays, or MRI.
Your doctor will then recommend a course of treatments to help you get rid of the spinal disc pain. This can include:
- Physical therapy
- Minimally invasive surgery
A herniated disc occurs when one of your spinal discs tears or leaks. A crack in the outer part of your disc will cause the gel-like nucleus at the center to leak. It can irritate nearby nerves, leading to sciatica.
This condition can cause numbness, pain, or weakness in your arm or leg. These symptoms usually affect only one part of your body. You may also experience pain in your neck or lower back. However, it can be helpful to note that herniated discs can also occur without symptoms. As such, it is important to note when you should visit your orthopedic doctor.
Similar to bulging discs, age is one of the main contributing factors for herniated discs. People ages 30 to 50 are more prone to develop a herniated disc. In terms of gender, men are most likely to get this condition.
Aside from age, other risk factors to look out for include:
- Excessive weight
- Sitting in the same position for extended periods
- Lifting heavy objects with a poor position
- Repetitive bending or twisting motions
Together with a physical exam, your spine specialist will conduct the following:
- Review of your symptoms and medical history
- Imaging tests, including MRI, X-rays, or CT scan
- Electromyography (EMG) or nerve conduction test
Once done, your doctor will recommend the best course of treatment. This can include:
- Physical therapy
- Wearing a neck or back brace
- Spinal steroid injections
Spinal Disc Pain Specialists In Southwest Michigan
Looking for comprehensive care and treatment for your spinal disc pain? Look no further! Our dedicated specialists at Ahlgren Spine will find the right course of treatment for you. Dr. Bradley Ahlgren is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon. He specializes in the spine with more than 25 years of experience. Rest assured, your spinal disc pain will be handled by professional hands!
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly staff today at (248) 215-8080. You can also use our convenient online appointment request form. We look forward to giving you the spinal disc pain treatment you deserve!