Back pain isn’t just frustrating; it can be debilitating. Lower back pain is especially common, and when this pain is both chronic and severe, it can make daily movement difficult. Pain of the lumbar spine can be tied to poor posture and misalignment, but it can also result from more serious conditions. This is especially true if you experience chronic back pain, or pain that lasts for 12 weeks or longer.
You should always see your primary care physician about this type of chronic pain, and he or she may refer you to a spine surgeon for treatment. In the meantime, it’s important to learn more about the common spinal conditions that can cause lumbar pain.
- Disc Degeneration
This condition tends to develop slowly over time (although the pain may become noticeable all at once), as age causes the vertebrae to lose support and wear down. This causes pressure on the vertebrae as well as other damage to the disc. As this condition progresses, the vertebral discs can herniate or experience other problems.
- Disc Herniation
A herniation occurs when the inner membrane of a vertebral disc pushes out to the next layer. What might start as acute pain can grow when this swelling pushes on a nerve. This may also cause sciatica, or nerve pain in the leg.
- Lumbar Stenosis
This condition can also become more severe as we age. Stenosis involves the gradual narrowing of the spinal canal, causing the spinal nerves to pinch. This causes shockwaves of pain to travel through your body. An orthopedic doctor may prescribe physical therapy, injections, or medication to help control the pain. When those back pain treatments fail to work, you may need to schedule a consultation with spinal surgeons.
- Compression Fracture
Older individuals may suffer a compression fracture quite suddenly. This happens when the vertebra collapses in on itself. If you sustain this injury, your doctor may look into related conditions like osteoporosis.
As with arthritis in other parts of the body, osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine involves wear and tear of the bones. It can occur with other spinal conditions and tends to worsen over time.
- Muscle Strain
Did you lift something improperly or start feeling pain after exercise? Your pain may be tied to muscle strain in the lower back. With the help of orthopedic specialists, you can get to the root of the injury.
When you see an orthopedist or spine surgeon about your condition, be sure to discuss all of your symptoms in detail. This way, they can perform the appropriate tests and prescribe the best possible treatment. By staying patient and following your doctor’s instructions, you can start controlling your pain as soon as possible and get back to your favorite activities.
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