Back pain can be caused by degenerative spine conditions

Back pain can come from many underlying causes, but two of the most common are strained muscles and degenerative spine conditions like herniated discs or spinal arthritis.

Muscle strains in the back are often linked to overuse of the muscles with improper twisting or lifting motions, but it can also be related to psychological stress. This type of stress causes you to tense your muscles for extended periods of time, creating the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles and causing tension and stress in your back that can be experienced as pain. Generally this pain can resolve on its own with rest and mild treatment like an ice pack or over-the-counter medication.

Back pain caused by degenerative spine conditions can be tougher to address because these issues are structural changes that occur during the natural aging process, or in other cases because of the presence of tumors, arthritis, trauma or spinal infections.

What spine conditions most frequently cause back pain?

Degenerative spine conditions refer to a variety of age-related problems that usually come about from years of regular wear and natural changes to the anatomy. For people who are experiencing back pain, the most common spinal diagnoses include:

  • Osteoarthritis. When the cartilage lining the joints of the spine starts to deteriorate, bones that previously glided against each other can start to grind together, causing inflammation, stiffness and discomfort.
  • Degenerative disc disease. The spinal discs that cushion vertebrae and absorb shock can lose elasticity and water content over time. This wear and tear can lead to damaged discs and several associated symptoms.
  • Spinal stenosis. The spinal nerve pathways can gradually become narrower due to a number of causes, including arthritis and disc problems. This constriction can cause nerve compression, leading to pain, numbness and other symptoms.

What types of treatments are available?

Treatments for these conditions will vary based on their root causes, as well as the location of the issue. In many cases, doctors will recommend a series of conservative treatments to help patients find pain relief. These treatments can include gentle stretching, taking muscle relaxers and applying heat and cold to the affected area. Physical therapy and spinal injections may also be recommended in certain cases that don’t respond to basic treatments.

If these nonsurgical treatments are not effective in pain relief after being attempted for weeks or months, your doctor may recommend spine surgery to relieve your back pain. You should research the benefits and drawbacks of all your options before moving forward with a decision. As an alternative to traditional open neck or back procedures, Laser Spine Institute provides minimally invasive spine surgery. Our procedures use a less than 1-inch incision, offering our patients a streamlined outpatient experience with a shorter recovery period than traditional open back surgery.^

To learn more about the advantages of the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute, contact us today. We can review your MRI report or CT scan at no cost* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.