Causes of Back Pain

The causes of back pain are nearly as numerous as terms used to describe the symptoms. Back pain is a primary reason people seek medical attention. Considering that almost 80 percent of the adult population will encounter some form of back pain, it could be said that back pain is a universal epidemic. Back pain recognizes no age, economic, or ethnic barriers.

Disc Degeneration

One of the most common disorders in the lower spine is disc degeneration, or osteoarthritis in the spine. The spine is made up of bones, or vertebra, and softer, gel-like discs. As the body ages, the discs in the spine dehydrate, or dry out, and lose their ability to act as shock absorbers. The bones and ligaments that make up the spine also become less pliable and thicken.

disc-degeneration

Degeneration in the discs is normal and is not in itself a problem. The problem happens when these discs began to pinch and put pressure on the nearby nerve roots or spinal cord.

Herniated Disc

cervical-disc-herniation A disc herniation is a disc rupture. This may occur if the nucleus pulposus (gel-like center) erupts through the annulus fibrosus (protective disc wall) or if the annulus fibrosus fragments. The progression to an actual herniation varies from slow to sudden onset of symptoms.

There are four stages:

1. Disc Protrusion

2. Disc Extrusion

3. Sequestered Disc

Stages 1 and 2 are referred to as incomplete, bulging_discwhere 3 and 4 are complete herniations. There disc can put pressure on the nerve exiting the spine to varying intensities in all stages – causing pain.

Spinal Arthritis and Facet Joint Syndrome

Arthritis in the spine is a normal part of aging for most people. It happens to everyone to some degree or another. This condition goes by many names, including Osteoarthritis, Spondylosis, Spinal Arthritis and Degenerative Joint Disease. Arthritis is thought to be a contributing factor in many different back pain syndromes. The facet joints are what link the two vertebrae together and are the target for osteoarthritis. This is commonly known as facet joint syndrome.

facet-joint-painFacet joint syndrome, otherwise known as facet joint disease or facet syndrome is an arthritic condition that affects the facet joints in the spine. The facet joints are the areas where the vertebrae actually join together. They are designed to impart strength, flexibility and spinal integrity, as well as offer a range of defined movement for each vertebral level.

Facet joint syndrome, otherwise known as facet joint disease or facet syndrome is an arthritic condition that affects the facet joints in the spine. The facet joints are the areas where the vertebrae actually join together. They are designed to impart strength, flexibility and spinal integrity, as well as offer a range of defined movement for each vertebral level.

Facet Joints link the vertebrae to one another and provide the flexibility for individual movement of each bone. Cartilage covers surface of the bones in the facet joints . The joint is covered by a capsule of ligaments and soft tissue. This capsule contains synovial fluid that is used to lubricate the facet joint. This combination of cartilage, ligament and synovial fluid keeps the joint moving smoothly and effortlessly. It prevents friction and bone on bone contact. There is also a fair amount of nerve tissue that runs into each one of these lubricating capsules. When we have arthritis in these joints, the bones will spur and start to put pressure on the pain sensitive capsules surrounding the joint. Eventually the spurs may even press on the nerve that exits from the spine!