Understanding the cause of your back pain is the key to proper treatment. There are many different underlying conditions that cause back pain. The more common causes of back pain are described below. Don't try to make your own diagnosis. A trained chiropractor that deals with back pain complaints on a daily basis will know what to look for and what questions to ask you to determine the underlying cause.
- Muscle strains and muscle spasms are the most common cause of low back pain. Patients may or may not remember the initial event that triggered their muscle spasm. Back pain from muscle spasms can be incredibly painful and feel like nerve pain when the muscle tighten and twitch around a key nerve such as the sciatic nerve.
- A ruptured intervertebral disc, also called a herniated disc, is another common cause of back pain. The terms ruptured, herniated, slipped and bulging disc don't really have precise definitions to distinguish one from another and are often used somewhat interchangeably to describe protruding disc material. It is important to note that a large percent of the population is walking around with bulging discs that cause no symptoms, so not every herniated disc warrants treatment or intervention.
- Discogenic back pain is the result of damage to the intervertabral disc, but without disc herniation. Diagnosis of discogenic back pain may require the use of a discogram.
- Spinal stenosis causes a lot of back pain in the elderly. As we age, the spinal canal can become constricted from arthritis and other conditions. If the spinal canal becomes too tight, back pain can be the result.
- Arthritis most commonly affects joints such as the knees and fingers. However, arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the small joints of the spine. Arthritis of the spine can cause back pain with movement.
- Spondylolisthesis causes back pain because adjacent vertebra become unstable and begin to "slip." The most common cause of spondylolisthesis are degenerative changes causing loss of the normal stabilizing structures of the spinal column.
As stated earlier, backaches are hard to self-diagnose. The causes listed above are just a few of more common possibilities. If you suffer from acute or chronic backaches, consult a qualified chiropractor for a complete exam.