Back pain may result if something disturbs the way in which your joints, discs, muscles and nerves fit together and move. Do you know – back pain is the leading cause of disability in people younger than 40. In addition, ongoing back pain is the worst nightmare for many people throughout the world. There are many causes of back pain. The following are a few among them.
Degenerated disc: General wear and tear makes discs susceptible to injury – as you age your discs become susceptible to degeneration (Spine vertebrae shrink or tear).
Bulging disc: Though the symptoms are quite uncommon, yet a protruding disc pressing on a nerve may cause pain.
Herniated disc: A ruptured disc pressing on a nerve may result in back pain.
Spinal stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal, pressing on the spinal cord may cause back pain.
Spondylolisthesis: Damaged joints may lead to vertebrae slipping out of place, pressing the spinal cord or nerve roots.
All the above disc conditions may lead to a condition known as sciatica.
Accidents, falls and fractures are also some of the causes of back pain. Back injuries and strains also cause back pain.
Muscle spasms: Spinal cord injuries or pinched nerves can lead to painful muscle spasms.
Muscle strain: Muscles and attaching tendons may get injured during heavy lifting, sports, or work tasks.
Pinched nerves: Compression of nerve roots due to one or a combination of disc condition causes pain.
Nerve damage: It may be a result of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, failed back syndrome and/or fibromyalgia, among others.
Your back pain can be due to the things you do or don’t do in your day-to-day life. Such activities are called as lifestyle triggers – these include wearing high heels, lifting heavy objects, slouching at your desk, being overweight, smoking and not exercising.
Your emotions, feelings and the amount of stress you get subjected to can also bring on pain – why because stress leads to muscles tension in the back, neck and other areas of the body. Anxiety and depression also aggravate pain enormously.
Procedures for back pain relief
Anti-inflammatory and/or anesthetic injections are administered at the site of the pain, and most commonly performed in outpatient facilities. These procedures may provide pain relief for weeks and up to a few months depending on the case.
Epidural steroid injections: Injections are administered in the epidural space of the spinal cord to relieve inflammation and pain, which is secondary to disc problems or pinched nerves.
Selective nerve-root blocks: Performed on selected nerves related to disc problems or pinched nerves, relieving pain from those nerve areas.
Facet joint blocks: Performed for temporary joint pain relief in preparation for more long-term treatments such as facet radiofrequency.
Facet radiofrequency: A special heated needle burns and disables the nerves responsible for the pain. Pain relief may last several months to a year.
Spinal cord stimulation: A small, rechargeable device placed under the skin releases electrode signals to the spinal cord, replacing the pain with a more pleasant sensation. This is a gold standard treatment for people with nerve-root damage or failed back syndrome who haven’t responded to conservative treatments.