Severe chronic back pain

Severe chronic back pain is a serious, recurring condition that affects a person’s everyday life. Back pain lasting more than three months is considered chronic. If this pain continues after months of nonsurgical treatment, it may indicate that the nonsurgical treatments have not provided adequate relief.

The spine is an integral part of the body — it may be easy to forget how much of our overall health depends on our spine health. Severe chronic back pain may be the spine’s way of telling the body that there is a problem.

Causes of severe chronic back pain

The spine is composed of bony vertebrae, soft spinal discs, facet joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Within the bony vertebral canal lies the spinal cord, the fragile but powerful nerve path of the body’s central nervous system.

After years of movement and activity, however, parts of the spine can degenerate and become prone to damage. The following spine conditions commonly lead to severe chronic back pain:

  • Degenerative disc disease — This condition develops as spinal discs weaken with age.
  • Spinal arthritis — This is considered a disease of the joints of the spine, either through inflammation (rheumatoid spinal arthritis) or through degeneration (osteoarthritis).
  • Spinal stenosis — This describes a narrowing of the spinal canal resulting in nerve compression.

These spine conditions are usually linked to underlying damage, such as:

  • Herniated disc — A herniated disc occurs when the gel-like substance inside the disc enters the vertebral canal through a tear in * Bulging disc — A bulging disc is an enlarged, flattened disc that is pressing on spinal nerves.
  • Bone spurs — Bone spurs are extra bone growths, also called osteophytes, which can put pressure on nerve tissue.

Diagnosis and treatment

When you talk to your physician, try to describe your back pain symptoms as accurately as possible. Remember to relate the frequency of your pain, its location, which activities make it worse and which activities you can no longer perform because of the back pain.

Be sure to tell your physician which treatment options you have already tried, such as over-the-counter pain medication, hot and cold therapy or massage.

Your physician will likely order an MRI or CT scan to confirm a diagnosis and may recommend an amplified treatment routine involving physical therapy, prescription medications, steroid injections or other options. However, these therapies may not be effective for everyone.

If you’ve not met your pain relief goals using nonsurgical treatments, surgery may be necessary to address the cause of the pain. You should research your options before committing to a highly invasive traditional open spine surgery that often requires a lengthy recovery.

Minimally invasive spine surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spinal surgery. The minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures offered at Laser Spine Institute have helped more than 75,000 people find the relief they deserve.

Using a less than 1-inch incision, our minimally invasive outpatient procedures come with a lower risk of infection and complication than traditional open spine surgery. If your chronic back pain symptoms persist, contact us today to speak to a Patient Empowerment Consultant and schedule your consultation. We will provide you with a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for one of our procedures.