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Back Pain

There are various types of back pain, each with its own characteristics and underlying causes.

  1. Muscle Strain: Muscle strain is one of the most common causes of back pain. It occurs when the muscles or tendons in the back are stretched or torn due to overexertion, lifting heavy objects, or sudden movements. Muscle strain typically presents as localized pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms.
  2. Herniated Disc: A herniated disc, also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when the soft inner portion of a spinal disc protrudes through a tear in the outer layer. This can put pressure on nearby nerves and cause pain, numbness, or tingling that radiates down the leg (sciatica) if the herniation affects the lower back.
  3. Degenerative Disc Disease: Degenerative disc disease refers to the natural wear and tear of the spinal discs over time. It can lead to the narrowing of the disc spaces, reduced disc height, and the development of bone spurs. This condition can cause chronic back pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.
  4. Spinal Stenosis: Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal, which puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This condition is often age-related and can lead to back pain, leg pain, and difficulty walking or standing for extended periods. Symptoms may worsen with activity and improve with rest or forward flexion of the spine.
  5. Scoliosis: Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that can cause back pain, muscle imbalances, and postural changes. Depending on the severity, scoliosis may cause discomfort or affect organ function in severe cases.
  6. Spinal Fractures: Fractures in the vertebrae can result from trauma, osteoporosis, or certain medical conditions. Compression fractures, often due to osteoporosis, can cause sudden and severe back pain, loss of height, and a hunched posture.
  7. Spinal Infections: Infections in the spine, such as discitis or vertebral osteomyelitis, can cause localized back pain that worsens over time. Other symptoms may include fever, swelling, and neurological deficits.
  8. Facet Joint Dysfunction: Facet joints are located between vertebrae and can become irritated or inflamed due to arthritis, injury, or degeneration. Facet joint dysfunction can result in back pain that is aggravated by movements like twisting or bending.
  9. Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain, including in the back. It is associated with tender points, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive difficulties.

It’s important to note that back pain can have overlapping causes, and an accurate diagnosis could be made by the healthcare professionals of the Eisenhower Clinic. Treatment options for back pain vary depending on the underlying cause and may include pain medications, physical therapy, exercises, heat or cold therapy, spinal injections, or in some cases, surgical intervention.