Back and Spine Health
Lower back pain is an incredibly common problem that will affect many people at some point during their lives. The pain can range from mild to severe. Fortunately, it isn’t a serious problem in most cases, and it might just be the result of a simple strain to a muscle or ligament but it’s worth consulting a spine specialist in Las Vegas, NV. The following few paragraphs will explore some of the leading causes of lower back pain.
Top Causes of Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can be caused by many conditions, injuries, and diseases, including:
Sprains and Strains
Lower back sprains and strains are the most common cause of lower back pain. If you lift something too heavy or you don’t lift an object safely, you can easily injure your muscles, tendons, or ligaments. It is even possible to strain your back by bending over, twisting, coughing, or sneezing.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is a condition that causes damage to the discs in your back thus causing you pain. It is characterized by the discs becoming flatter and thinner over time due to wear and tear. That leaves them less capable of cushioning the vertebrae thus more likely to tear.
Arthritis is of over 100 different types, many of which may cause lower back pain. The most common types include osteoarthritis, which is the most common, ankylosing spondylitis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The protective covering on intervertebral discs may wear over time thus causing the soft inner disc tissue to push through the outer layer. A disc thus slips out of place or bulges out is known as a bulging disc, herniated disc, or slipped disc. The herniation can press on the nerve roots leading to symptoms such as tingling, pain, weakness or numbness in the area served by the nerve.
It refers to when a vertebra slides forward out of position, disrupting the alignment of the spine and sometimes compressing the roots of the nerve. It is most common in the lumbar region, but it can occur anywhere along the spine. The slippage is usually caused by either a fractured vertebra or disc degeneration.
It refers to a condition where bones lose mass faster than it is replaced, thus making them brittle. Bones may even fracture without warning. The fractures are particularly common in the spine, where they are referred to as vertebral compression fractures. While both men and women lose bone mass as they age, post-menopausal women tend to lose it faster and are thus more at risk for osteoporosis.
A compression fracture in the spine occurs when a vertebra in the lumbar spine basically collapses in on itself. It is usually caused by osteoporosis, but it can also be caused by trauma. The collapse may cause severe pain and individuals suffering from a compression fracture usually experience sudden pain and limited spinal mobility.
It refers to a narrowing of the inside spaces of the spine. It is usually caused by a herniated disc, but can also be caused by bone spurs due to spinal osteoarthritis. It can result in painful pressure on the spinal nerves. Spinal stenosis occurs in both the lumbar spine and the cervical spine, but lumbar spinal stenosis tends to be most common.
A tumor results from the unchecked division and multiplication of cells. Tumors are a less common cause of lower back pain, but they are still a valid cause. Both malignant and benign tumors can cause lower back pain. Tumors can originate in the spine or metastasize there, which means that they have spread from elsewhere in the body.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people see a doctor or miss days at work or school and the main causes have been discussed above. The good thing is that the vast majority of episodes of lower back pain eventually resolve on their own. Still, some episodes of lower back pain will require medical intervention.
If you are experiencing lower back pain that isn’t responding to self-care and rest, you should consider seeing a spine surgeon. The spine doctor will likely perform a physical examination and perhaps order imaging scans to diagnose the root cause of the pain. Depending on the diagnosis, he/she will design a comprehensive treatment plan and recovery timeframe.