What are the leading sources of back pain?

Back pain will affect four out of five people at one point in their life. This discomfort can be caused by a number of injuries or conditions, some more serious than others. For example, a pulled muscle in the lower back can mimic symptoms of sciatica, though the severity of the two conditions and the treatment approach is very different. Read the following article to educate yourself on the causes of lower back pain to increase your chances of avoiding this epidemic.

Common causes of back pain

Because most adults experience back pain at some point in life, it is important to understand the main causes and symptoms of back pain and the best way to find pain relief for your condition.

The most common causes of lower back pain include:

  • Pinched nerves. Pressure or compression on nerve roots in the spinal canal can cause pain to radiate from the lower back into the extremities.
  • Herniated disc. A herniated disc occurs commonly in the lower back when the spine experiences added pressure from excess weight and repetitive motion. These acts can cause the disc to wear down and eventually cause the tough outer layer of the disc to tear. Disc fragments and inner disc fluid may press against a local nerve, causing pain in your lower back, buttocks and leg.
  • Degenerative disc disease. This condition includes any damage to a disc in the spine due to the natural aging process of the spine. The most common degenerative disc diseases are a herniated disc, bulging disc or ruptured disc.
  • Bone spurs. Also termed osteophytes, this condition may be found in areas affected by arthritis, such as the disc or joint spaces where cartilage has deteriorated. These bone spurs may cause nerve compression if they touch a nerve near the spine, resulting in pain and discomfort.
  • Spinal stenosis. This condition is the narrowing of the spinal canal by a piece of bone or disc material. This can cause weakness in your extremities and typically develops with age or as a result of another spine condition.
  • Facet disease. Also known as osteoarthritis, this condition is a degenerative joint condition that causes slow deterioration of cartilage. Osteoarthritis of the spine results in narrowed cartilage discs between the bones that make up your backbone. Without this cartilage cushioning, the joints (facets) between adjacent bones compress and become irregular, causing inflammation, pain, swelling and stiffness. Your body tries to compensate for this form of arthritis, but the repairs are often inadequate, resulting in little growths of additional bone called bone spurs.
  • Cervical spondylosis. This is a common condition resulting from degeneration (osteoarthritis) of the bones of the neck (cervical vertebrae). This can lead to increasing pain in the neck and arm, weakness and changes in sensation.

Minimally invasive spine surgery for back pain

Living with chronic back pain can be difficult, especially if your pain prevents you from living the active lifestyle you enjoy. While the idea of spine surgery may be overwhelming, sometimes it is the best option to relieve your pain. For a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery,^ we encourage you to research the minimally invasive options available at Laser Spine Institute to relieve back pain.

We perform both minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures, including foraminotomy, laminotomy, discectomy and facet thermal ablation, as well as other procedures to treat back pain. Through a no-cost MRI review* of your spine, we can evaluate your condition to see if you are a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive spine surgery procedures that can help recapture your lifestyle.

Because of our minimally invasive approach to the spine, we have earned a patient satisfaction score of 96 and patient recommendation score of 97 out of 100.^ We hope you will take a moment to browse a few of our patient testimonials to see how we can help you find relief from back pain, too. If you have any questions remaining or would like to know how Laser Spine Institute can address your symptoms, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you in any way we can.