Common causes of back pain , Surgery or not ?

Common causes of back pain , Surgery or not ?

Slipped disk: A slipped disk is also called a herniated disc. Normally, disks in your spine provide space and cushioning between the bones in your spine. A slipped disk occurs when part of the much softer disk bulges out and pushes against nearby nerves. This causes severe pain and discomfort, as well as radiating pain symptoms down your legs or arms. Most cases of slipped discs heal over time, with the aid of physical therapy. ONLY most severe cases might need surgery.

Spinal stenosis: Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces between the spinal nerves and the spinal cord because of bony spurs and growths.. It is often caused by changes in the spine that get worse over time due to degeneration of the spine and arthritic changes. With severe spurs and osteophytes a surgical procedure can be beneficial to open the foramen and relieve pressure on the exiting nerve roots.

Sciatica: Sciatica is pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. Sciatica is and overused term in the medical world, and should only refer to the actual hereditary condition where the sciatic plexus runs right through the hip external rotator muscle, called the piriformis. It is not caused by injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve. This nerve starts in the lower spine and runs down the back of each leg. Sciatica is a symptom of another medical problem, not a medical condition on its own. Sometimes a condition called piriformis syndrome leads to sciatica. This condition affects a muscle in the buttocks and may cause pain or a dull ache in the buttocks. Surgery is not recommended.

Back strain: Back strain is injury to the muscles and ligaments in the back. Due to overworking the soft tissue by heavy lifiting or intense sport. The pain usually spreads to the muscles next to the spine. Muscle spasms (pain from muscles tightening in quick movements on their own) may also occur from back strain. The pain may move to the buttocks, but it does not usually go down the leg. No surgery recommended

Arthritis and degenerative spine disease: Many people with chronic back pain have arthritis and extra wear and tear on the spine. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the spine. The spinal disks dry out and become stiffer and can rupture more easily. You can lose movement in your spine. These changes can also develop in areas where you have a slipped disk or a spinal fracture. This problem may also be called spondylosis. This is the most common cause of chronic back pain in humans, and can cause many years of agony. This is also the segment of the population most operated on. In Fact, since 2003 the amount of low back surgeries has increased by well over 300% in the US alone. This is due to the general population’s lack of physical exercise, unhealthy diets and exposure to chemical components.  Physical therapy is starting to play a bigger role than ever, and in time more than 75% of these cases will be managed without any surgery.

Facet joint pain: Facet joints are joints that connect the vertebrae (bones of the spine). They allow the spine to move and make twisting and bending movements. Facet joint pain cannot be diagnosed using x-rays or MRI scans. A doctor who treats back pain may be able to diagnose this problem based on your symptoms and physical exam. Facet joint pain are treatable by physical therapy and should not be operated on.

Other causes of back pain

Osteoporosis occurs when the body does not form enough new bone, when too much old bone is absorbed by the body, or by both of these things.

  • Your bones contain the minerals calcium and phosphate, which make them strong. As you age, your body may absorb these minerals, and this weakens your bones. Weak bones are brittle and fragile, and they can break easily, even without injury.
  • A compression fracture of the vertebra occurs when one of the vertebra collapses.
  • When more than one vertebra may be affected. Osteoporosis is the most common cause for problems with multiple vertebrae.

Other types of arthritis, besides osteoarthritis, can also cause back pain. They make the joints of the spine become swollen and inflamed, and this leads to pain. These types of arthritis are called psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Stress fractures in the spine (also called spondylolysis) are a common cause of back pain in young athletes. Sometimes a stress fracture may not show up for a week or two after an injury. Stress fractures are more common in athletes who are gymnasts, defensive football linemen, weightlifters, and cheerleaders. Spondylolysis can cause spondylolisthesis, a condition in which the spine becomes unstable and the vertebrae slip over each other.