Spinal column pain — causes and treatments

Neck or back pain caused by a spinal column condition can be debilitating, interfering with your sleep, your job and spending quality time with the people you love. Finding relief for a return to the quality of life you deserve is possible and a great first step is to learn more about spinal anatomy, the causes of pain and other symptoms and the full range of treatments available. This can help you work more closely with your doctor to develop an effective treatment plan.

Causes of spinal column pain

The spinal column is made of a vertical stack of bones, called vertebrae, which supports the weight of the upper body while protecting the spinal cord. To allow the spine to bend and flex, the vertebrae are linked by facet joints and cushioned by cartilaginous discs. As we age, the discs and joints lose water and protein content, making them dry, brittle and less able to withstand the pressure being placed upon them by everyday weight and movement. This can lead to a variety of degenerative spine conditions, such as degenerative disc disease and spinal osteoarthritis, which are often the underlying causes of spinal column pain.

These conditions are not always painful and can go undiagnosed for years, but they can cause narrowing of the spinal column and nerve compression. This can result in the following symptoms:

  • Local pain
  • Traveling pain
  • Unexpected muscle weakness
  • Soreness or stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness and tingling

Treatment for spinal column pain

In order to effectively treat neck or back pain, it is important to visit a physician to determine the cause, severity and location of the problem. Once the diagnosis is complete, your physician will likely first recommend conservative treatments. Pain medications, periods of rest, low-impact exercises, physical therapy and epidural steroid injections help many patients return to normal, healthy activity. Spine surgery can become an option if weeks or months of conservative treatment do not bring relief.

Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery as a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck and back surgery.^ We offer our patients a number of benefits, including a less than 1-inch incision and a reduced risk of complication compared to traditional procedures. We also provide minimally invasive stabilization procedures that are an alternative to traditional fusion surgery for certain cases of more severe spinal degeneration.

Reach out to our team of Spine Care Consultants today for a no-cost MRI review* to find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.