Types Of Back Pain


Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord and they control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain. Spinal stenosis in your neck can cause cervical radiculopathy—symptoms may include pain accompanied by tingling sensations, numbness and/or weakness. These symptoms may radiate downward from your neck into one or both shoulders, arms and/or hands.

Small nerve roots enter and emerge from the spinal cord through spaces between the vertebrae. Bands of tissue known as ligaments and tendons hold the vertebrae in place and attach the muscles to the spinal column. Widely known as sciatica, lumbar radiculopathy is pain, numbness, weakness, and/or tingling sensations that radiate downward from the affected level in the low back into the buttocks and legs.

Nerve root pain originates from nerves that have been damaged or are compressed in the spine. Nerves carry information that control body movements and sensations to the brain. When a nerve in the spine is damaged it can cause pain, increased sensitivity, numbness and muscle weakness. Occasionally no identifiable cause is found which can be distressing for the individual experiencing the pain. Surgeons don’t generally care for patients with back pain and neck pain over the long term.

Acute pain often goes away without medical treatment, but don’t ignore chronic and persistent pain that lasts for weeks, months, or years. Weakness, numbness, tingling or pain radiating into an arm or leg are important symptoms that need evaluation by a physician. Your primary care physician may refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist, to help determine the cause of your back pain. Treatment neurologist expert witness options include physical therapy, back exercises, weight reduction, steroid injections , nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, acupuncture, rehabilitation and limited activity. All of these treatment options are aimed at relieving inflammation in the back and irritation of nerve roots. Physicians usually recommend four to six weeks of conservative therapy before considering surgery.

The last time you see a surgeon is likely at a post-op follow-up visit a month or two after surgery, long before you are fully recovered. There are many “cracks” to fall through later on, the most important being a return to the same posture and muscle conditioning that led to the injury in the first place. This simple series of X-Rays, in addition the MRI testing, can radically change the way spine pain is treated. Localized pain symptoms from a pinched nerve may include neck pain, neck stiffness, decreased range of motion in the neck, and headaches. Osteophytes are abnormal bony spurs which form as part of the degenerative process or following a longstanding disc prolapse. This extra bone formation can cause spinal stenosis as well as intervertebral foraminal stenosis, both of which result in compression of the spinal cord and/or spinal nerves.

The physician may recommend anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, and restrict strenuous activities for a few days. Spinal fusion is used to strengthen the spine and prevent painful movements in people with degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis . The spinal disc between two or more vertebrae is removed and the adjacent vertebrae are “fused” by bone grafts and/or metal devices secured by screws.

In kyphoplasty, prior to injecting the bone cement, a special balloon is inserted and gently inflated to restore height to the vertebral structure and reduce spinal deformity. A complete medical history and physical exam can usually identify any serious conditions that may be causing the pain. Neurologic tests can help determine the cause of pain and appropriate treatment. Imaging tests are not needed in most cases but may be ordered to rule out specific causes of pain, including tumors and spinal stenosis.

Sciatica can occur with a herniated disc if the disc presses on the sciatic nerve. Careful, early attention to obtain the correct diagnosis will maximize the success of the treatment chosen for the individual patient. When back pain is associated with fever, loss of leg sensation or strength or difficulty with urination, quick medical attention is required. Where back pain is mechanical, patients can exercise and learn lifting and movement techniques for prevention of future episodes. Multiple pain management procedures such as epidural steroid injection are available, and a number of types of surgical procedures are available for people where conservative measures are not effective. There is concern within the medical community that high-tech imaging methods, such as CT scan and MRI, are overused for acute low back pain.

Usually only affecting one leg, sciatica pain symptoms tend to appear very suddenly and can last for weeks. Although most people experience back pain with sciatica sometimes sciatica is the only symptom of a pinched nerve in the back. It’s important to recognize and understand the potential symptoms of spinal stenosis because having this knowledge can help you obtain an early diagnosis and treatment. Symptoms typically develop when the spinal canal narrows and/or nerve roots are compressed, causing neural irritation, inflammation and pain. The lumbar and cervical spinal levels are commonly affected by this age-related and gradually progressive disorder.