No one wants to live with back pain, but unfortunately about 80 percent of Americans will experience neck or back pain at some point in their lives. Not only is neck or back pain inconvenient but it is also expensive, costing approximately $50 billion a year in U.S. health care costs. Neck and back pain is also the number one cause for missed work, specifically impacting working adults over the age of 50. About 90 percent of people who experience back pain will recover over time with conservative treatments and rest. This is because a large percentage of back pain is caused by muscle or ligament stress. However, for 10 percent of individuals dealing with back pain conservative treatments fail, and surgery becomes the next option.
Degenerative spine conditions
Patients dealing with back pain not caused by muscular strain or ligament sprain may be suffering from degenerative conditions, which occur naturally during the aging process. The most common areas for degeneration are found in the neck and lower back (cervical and lumbar areas of the spine). These areas of the spine are more susceptible to the stress of day-to-day movement, whereas the middle back (thoracic spine) is generally more protected by the rib cage.
- Arthritis of the spine – (Osteoarthritis) This is a natural part of the aging process, and is caused by the degeneration of the cartilage that mobilizes the joints of the spine.
- Degenerative disc disease – Intervertebral discs are composed of approximately 90 percent water; during the aging process these discs begin to lose water and shrink. This causes the discs to bulge and herniate.
- Spondylolisthesis – This occurs when one vertebra moves over another. This can be caused by developmental abnormalities, extensive injury or deterioration of spinal elements.
These conditions all lead to the potential of having nerves irritated or pinched, causing immense pain, numbness, tingling and weakness.
Treatment for back pain
Generally, conservative treatment for these conditions is beneficial. However, if after exhausting all conservative options surgery becomes an option, Contact Laser Spine Institute Laser Spine Institute offers effective minimally invasive procedures. Call today to receive a free review of your most recent MRI or CT scan.