The most common chronic back pain cause is a muscle strain that has not received the proper treatment or reoccurs because of repetitive activity. Sitting at a desk or behind a steering wheel for long periods of time places stress on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons associated with the spine, and it’s not uncommon for pain or discomfort to develop. This pain is referred to as “chronic” when it persists or comes and goes for more than three months.
Various Spine Conditions
However, not every chronic back pain cause can be attributed to repetitive stress on soft tissues associated with the spinal column. The spine itself – with its intricate system of stacked vertebrae, cushioning cartilaginous discs, the spinal cord, and branching nerve roots – is vulnerable to a variety of conditions that can produce chronic back problems. These include:?
- Degenerative disc disease – the intervertebral discs begin to lose their water content and elasticity during the natural aging process, disrupting the delicate relationship among the various components of the spinal anatomy
- Spinal stenosis – occurs when the spinal canal (vertebral foramen) or the pathways for nerve roots (intervertebral foramina) become constricted, either through swelling, the growth of bone spurs, or infringement from damaged intervertebral discs
- Herniated disc – the torn or split wall of an intervertebral disc allows the disc’s nucleus material to extrude into the spinal canal, a potential cause of nerve compression
- Bulging disc – intense pressure within the intervertebral disc forces the disc wall to expand into the spinal canal, causing a potential pinched nerve
- Osteoarthritis – natural wear and tear as we age wears down the cartilaginous layers that lubricate joints where the vertebrae meet, which are the facet joints
The back pain symptoms associated with most of these conditions will generally fade on their own with time, especially when treated using over-the-counter medication, physical therapy, rest, and other conservative options. If chronic back pain continues to cause ongoing disruptions in your life, contact Laser Spine Institute (LSI) to determine whether you are a candidate for a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure that can help you achieve back pain relief.