What Causes Back Pain?

Your back muscles are always working. They power your body and play a major role in movement. They connect the hips, buttocks, chest, shoulder and neck. Whether your daily activities require you to sit or stand for long periods of time, or if you’ve suffered an injury, your back takes the brunt of the stress. Prolonged stress due to injury, position and/or posture can lead to back pain.

Common causes of back pain

Acute back pain is pain that comes on suddenly and lasts for no more than six weeks. It can be caused by a fall or heavy lifting. Chronic back pain is pain that lasts more than three months. Conditions commonly linked to back pain include:

  • Arthritis – Arthritis in the spine can lead to narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, a condition known as spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis can put pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves within the spine, which can lead to pain, numbness, and muscle weakness.
  • Bulging or ruptured discs – There are small discs in between each spinal vertebrae that act as cushions to absorb the shock of walking, running, jumping and twisting. The soft material inside the disc can bulge or rupture, press on a nerve, and cause significant back pain.
  • Muscle or ligament strain – Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments, which can lead to painful muscle spasms.
  • Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is a condition in which a person’s bones become brittle and fragile, as a result of hormonal changes or calcium deficiency. This can cause compression fractures along the spine’s vertebrae
  • Skeletal irregularities – Scoliosis, a condition that affects the curvature of your spine, can lead to chronic back pain during middle age.

Treatment options for back pain

The back surgeons at Neurosurgery & Spine Consultants offer exceptional nonsurgical, surgical, and minimally invasive procedures for spine conditions and back pain, including:

Conservative pain care treatments

  • Nonsurgical – Nonsurgical pain treatments like pain medication, applying heat or ice, therapeutic massage and exercise are often the first line of defense for back pain.
  • Advanced – Advanced pain care treatments like back braces, nerve blocks, steroid injections, radiofrequency procedures, spinal cord stimulators or vertebroplasty/kyphoplasty may be required to find relief from chronic back pain.

Surgical pain care treatments

  • Disc herniation – A discectomy is the most common surgery used for a herniated disc in the lumbar region. During this procedure, your doctor will remove the portion of the disc that is causing pressure, and therefore, the pain on your nerve root.
  • Abnormal alignment of the spine – Conditions like scoliosis or other spine alignment issues are often treated using a surgical procedure known as spinal fusion. Spinal fusion procedures fuse vertebrae together to correct deformities and prevent further misalignments.
  • Fracture – Bone fracture repair surgery is often used to repair severely damaged bones and often uses screws, pins rods or plates to hold the bone in place as it heals. This is also known as open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) surgery.

NSC can provide a comprehensive consultation to determine what conservative options or surgical course is best for you. We offer advanced, minimally invasive care for back pain. If you would like to learn more about back pain treatment in San Antonio, call the expert physicians at Neurosurgery & Spine Consultants at 210-255-8935.