Back Pain Causes ~ Health Guide

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Back Pain Causes

Written by Mystic on Thursday, September 13, 2007

The exact cause of back pain is sometimes difficult to determine.
The pain may originate in the muscles, connective tissue, bones, discs, or nerves. Because the back is such an intricate mechanism, it may be a while before your doctor has an exact explanation for your pain. It may take several visits to the doctor to understand the cause if your symptoms are not going away.

Most cases of back soreness are the result of strain on poorly conditioned or overused muscles, or an imbalance between the back's support structures. Muscle tension or spasm, back sprains, ligament or muscle tears, and joint problems can cause pain as well.
Seemingly minor movement can cause back pain. Even a sneeze or cough can force a disc to extend beyond its normal boundaries. When a disc slips out of its proper position, it can put pressure on a nearby nerve, causing pain in whatever part of the body that nerve is connected to. In addition, back pain can arise indirectly from other body systems. For example, a foot or knee injury can cause a person to limp, which forces weight to be distributed differently. This places strain on leg and back muscles, and can make your back hurt.

Injuries, age-related changes, deterioration of bone or tissue, inflammation, infections, tumors, inherited disorders, and skeletal and muscle problems can all cause back pain.
A sudden, hard fall or blow can sprain the ligaments.

A common injury from a car accident is whiplash, which happens when the neck is wrenched violently. Whiplash causes pain and stiffness in the neck. In 70% of patients, the condition will resolve within two to three months.

Osteoporosis, a disease characterized by brittle bones, can cause the vertebrae to become compressed and fracture. The rheumatic disease fibromyalgia causes aches, pain, and tenderness in the muscles and soft tissues around the spine.

Problems with other organs can sometimes cause back pain. Kidney stones, for example, can make the lower portion of the back near the waist feel sore.

Degenerative disc disease causes back pain. This disease occurs most frequently due to injury or deterioration of the disc space
Doctors often consider degenerative disc disease to be a wear and tear disease. As the space between the vertebrae narrows, the disc can bulge, protrude, or extrude and irritate nerves, resulting in pain radiating down the leg or arm. A common result of degenerative disc disease is a condition called sciatica. This happens when the sciatic nerve in the lower back is irritated or compressed, which causes pain or numbness in the leg. About 10% of those with back pain experience sciatica. Coughing, sneezing, straining, and other activities that put additional pressure on the spine can increase the pain and numbness of sciatica. Nerve compression can also cause muscle weakness and a tingling sensation in the leg.

Spinal stenosis can cause serious and debilitating pain It may require surgery.
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the opening through which the spinal cord runs. This narrowing is most often caused by arthritis, and therefore is most often found in older people. If the narrowing becomes severe enough to put pressure on spinal nerves, patients may develop low back pain, buttock pain, leg pain, and/or numbness in the above areas. The pain may be most noticeable while walking. Patients with severe stenosis often cannot walk more than one city block before feeling pain. Bending forward can sometimes relieve the pain temporarily. Spinal stenosis may be caused by other factors such as injuries, infections, tumors, or congenital abnormalities.

Inflammation of the spine can lead to disorders called spondyloarthropathies.
Spondyloarthropathies are inflammatory diseases that cause severe pain in the joints. Ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter's syndrome, psoriatic arthritis, and arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease are all a specific types of this condition. Doctors have not yet determined exactly what causes these conditions. There is a genetic link, however, and people who have the disease in their family are more likely to develop the disease themselves. The body responds to a trigger in an abnormal manner, and the immune system reacts with inflammation. However, scientists do not know yet what this trigger is.

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