Your back consists of many parts that are responsible for your body’s movements, and your spine takes the brunt of a lot impact when it comes to sports and everyday activities. Unfortunately, this means that there are a lot of back problems that can surface. Some of the most common causes of back issues include:
- Compression fracture – Often caused by osteoporosis or trauma to the spine, a compression fracture is a break in a bone within the spine. Symptoms of a compression fracture can include loss of bladder control, severe pain, leg weakness, and more. Non-surgical treatments like pain medications, rest, and bracing can provide relief. For more serious cases, surgery to internally fix the vertebra in place may be necessary.
- Degenerative disc disease – This condition develops with normal aging, due to the fact that the discs lose fluid and can develop tiny cracks. This contributes to pain and can cause secondary conditions to surface, like osteoarthritis and herniated discs. Non-surgical treatments for degenerative disc disease include physical therapy, medications, and injections. Sometimes, surgery is needed to replace the affected disc.
- Herniated disc – Disc herniation is a typical result of aging as the discs become less flexible over time. This causes the inner gel-like substance inside the discs to bulge out, which puts pressure on nearby nerves and result in pain. Herniated discs can also be caused by lifting or strenuous activity. Non-surgical treatments for herniated discs include epidural injections, heat and ice therapy, and rest. Sometimes, the affected disc needs to be surgically removed.
- Sciatica – Inflammation, numbness, and pain that radiates from the lower spine down one leg (along the sciatic nerve) are all signs of sciatica. This condition develops when a bone spur or herniated disc compresses the nerve. Non-surgical treatments for sciatica include medications, physical therapy, and steroid injections. Sometimes, surgery is necessary to remove the bone spur or disc.
- Scoliosis – Sometimes caused by injury or abnormal muscles or nerves, scoliosis is a curve in the spine. In many cases, the exact cause of scoliosis is not known. For mild cases, regular imaging tests are performed in order to make sure the curve is not getting worse. Braces can be used to halt the progression of a spinal curve, and in severe cases, surgery is performed to correct the condition and hold the spine in place.
- Spinal arthritis – This is also referred to as osteoarthritis, and is the breakdown of cartilage in the back caused by aging and sometimes injuries. Symptoms of spinal arthritis include numbness and tingling in the arms and legs and stiffness and pain in the back and neck. Non-surgical treatments like massage, weight loss, electrical nerve stimulation, and strengthening exercises can provide relief.
- Spinal stenosis – The narrowing of your spinal canal is referred to as spinal stenosis. This can result in pain and weakness in the legs and back. Non-surgical treatments for spinal stenosis include chiropractic care, steroid injections, lumbar traction therapy, and physical therapy. Surgery, like spinal fusion and surgical decompression, is sometimes needed.
- Spondylolisthesis – This condition can be caused by defective and injured joints, stress fracture, and arthritis or infections that can contribute to joint damage. Spondylolisthesis is characterized by one vertebra sliding forward over the one under it, and symptoms can include lower back pain, buttocks pain, weakness, and numbness. Non-surgical treatments include physical therapy and medications. Sometimes, surgery is needed to remove tissue or bone in order to take pressure off of the spinal cord or nerves
Sometimes, back pain simply surfaces as a result of overuse or injuries sustained during sports. A visit with one of our doctors will help you to pinpoint the cause of your back pain and figure out which treatment is best for you.