Overview of conditions that cause chronic neck and back pain

Chronic pain in the neck or back can be caused by a number of spine conditions. While these conditions often develop slowly over time, they can also be related to trauma resulting from an accident or sports injury.

These spine conditions, such as a herniated disc or osteoarthritis, are not necessarily painful by themselves. However, these conditions can cause narrowing in the spinal column, which can lead to the compression of adjacent nerves. This nerve compression is what typically causes chronic pain.

If you’re experiencing pain in the neck or back that has lasted longer than a few days or a week and does not seem to be getting better, you should contact your doctor to determine if you have a spine condition that is causing your pain. Identifying the cause of your pain can help you move forward with an effective treatment plan for pain relief.

Spine conditions that cause chronic pain

There are a variety of degenerative spine conditions that may result in chronic pain. Some of the most common of these include:

  • Arthritis of the spine
  • Spondylolisthesis, or slippage of the vertebrae
  • Facet disease
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Bulging or herniated discs
  • Spinal stenosis

Your doctor can perform a physical evaluation, review your medical history and order medical imaging to determine if a spine condition is the cause of your chronic pain. Once a firm diagnosis is made, he or she can recommend treatment to help you find relief and get back to your active lifestyle.

Treatment for chronic pain

Treatments for chronic pain often begin conservatively. It is important to be patient as you work to find the right combination of treatments that brings you lasting relief. Some of the recommendations may involve lifestyle changes that need time to have a positive effect on your spine health. Specific treatment methods may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Herbal remedies
  • Medication
  • Lifestyle changes like posture improvement, quitting smoking and weight management

If these treatments do not provide relief after several months of conservative therapy, you may be referred to a specialist for a surgical consultation. Before consenting to a procedure, contact Laser Spine Institute for information about our minimally invasive spine surgery.

Our highly skilled surgeons can access the spine with a less than 1-inch incision by using direct visualization technology and muscle-sparing techniques. This allows our procedures to be performed on an outpatient basis, leading to less risk of complication and a shorter recovery period when compared to traditional open spine surgery.^

To learn more, contact Laser Spine Institute today for a no-cost review of your MRI report or CT scan* to find out if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.