What is Back Pain?
Simply put, back pain is any type of discomfort that you feel along your spine. Back pain can also be closely related to head and neck pain, though this is not always the case.
There are several areas that back pain can affect: thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal. While some people only experience pain localized to one area of their back, many people experience pain in multiple areas.
Back pain can occur at the same time in multiple areas of the spine or develop under different circumstances individually. For example, some people develop lower back pain after spending a day walking around a theme park while others only develop upper back pain from carrying a heavy bag. Another individual may experience pain throughout their entire spine for seemingly no reason at all. This is why it is so important to work with medical providers who are specialized in caring for the spine and who understand safe pain management.
While many people believe that back pain only has one symptom (pain), people can experience a plethora of symptoms that can be categorized under back pain.
Uncomfortable muscle spasms, stiffness, stinging, burning, tingling, stabbing pains, burning pains, and numbness can all be symptoms of back pain.
Common Causes of Back Pain
Back pain can be caused by an injury to the muscles, tendons, bone, and ligaments that allow your back to stay flexible, strong, and protective of our spinal cord. When one aspect of your back is out of whack, you become more prone to experiencing pain or secondary injuries and conditions that can worsen your painful symptoms.
Aging is another common cause of back pain, though the team at Champlain Spine and Pain Management are firm believers that aging doesn’t always have to come with aches and pains that we must ignore.
Carrying excess weight, such as handling heavy objects or being physically overweight, can also cause strain on your spine that results in back pain. In some cases, maintaining proper form while working out or lifting heavy objects can prevent back pain from developing in these situations. For patients who are overweight, small lifestyle changes that culminate in a more active life and weight loss can also successfully manage the cause of their back pain.
Arthritis of the Spine
As we age, unfortunately, we become more likely to develop arthritis. The back can be especially prone to arthritis of the spine due to how frequently we bend and twist our spine during daily activities. The cartilage of the joints and cartilage in the spine are especially prone to becoming worn and putting more pressure on the spinal column.
Coccydynia refers to pain in the tailbone, which can prevent you from sitting, standing, walking, and laying down comfortable. Some patients can even experience weakness or numbness in their legs as a result of this condition. While most people experience coccydynia as a result of a direct injury to their tailbone, it is important to work with a specialist to find the cause of your discomfort and to treat it appropriately.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Whether it occurs as a result of aging or injury, degenerative disc disease is a painful condition in which the discs between the vertebrae begin to deteriorate. This results in less cushioning between the vertebrae, leading to stiffness, pain, and weakness.
Facet Joint Pain
Facet joint pain is a condition that refers to any discomfort that stems from pain between two vertebrae. Facet joints allow your back to bend and be flexible, making facet joint pain an especially uncomfortable condition that leads to stiffness, pain, and a reduction in mobility over time.
Failed Back Surgery
While back surgery is performed by highly-trained surgeons, these procedures are complex and always come with some risks. In some cases, the condition or injury may have been especially difficult to correct or the patient has experienced postoperative complications. Whatever the situation may be, patients who have experienced failed back surgery are not doomed to live their lives uncomfortably. Champlain Spine and Pain Management is here to help.
This uncomfortable condition can best be described as a pain that runs along the space in-between your ribs. Most frequently, patients with intercostal neuralgia have experienced nerve compression that leads to the sharp, burning, or shooting pain associated with this condition.
Lumbar, Thoracic, Cervical Radiculopathy
Radiculopathy is a condition that can affect the neck, middle, and lower back as a result of a nerve being pinched along the spine. Unlike other types of nerve injuries, radiculopathy refers to injuries that occur when the root of a nerve is pinched or compressed.
When an individual has a shingles outbreak, the most common complication is a condition called postherpetic neuralgia. This is because shingles affects the nerve fibers along with the skin in the affected area. Postherpetic neuralgia refers to the burning pain that can occur even after the rashes and blisters resolve.
Sciatica is a common condition that causes back pain that radiates down the leg. When the sciatic nerve is compressed or injured, patients experience sharp and debilitating pain in the lower back, buttocks, and legs.
This condition refers to a curvature of the spine that can cause mild to serious symptoms, including pain, stiffness, and even deformity. Many patients begin to experience symptoms of scoliosis during puberty as symptoms tend to get more severe with growth.
Spinal stenosis is a condition that refers to a “narrowing” of the spinal canal, which puts pressure on the nerves and spinal cord within. This uncomfortable condition is most commonly caused by aging, and the pain associated with spinal stenosis may also be accompanied by poor bladder and bowel control.
Spondylolisthesis develops when a vertebrae slips out of its place, commonly as a result of a fracture, and moves forward. This painful condition is common yet serious, requiring medical attention to try to control pain and nerve damage as a result of this injury. Athletes are especially prone to developing spondylolisthesis.
Vertebral Compression Fracture
This injury is most commonly experienced by women, specifically women over the age of 55 who have experienced osteoporosis. As a result of reduced bone mass, even small actions like coughing or lifting a heavy object can cause a compression fracture to develop. In most cases, however, vertebral compression fractures can heal under the supervision of a specialist without surgery.
Who Can Experience Back Pain?
Anyone and everyone can experience back pain!
Individuals who are elderly can be just as prone to developing back pain as children, teens, and adults are. This just goes to show that back pain is a nondiscriminatory condition that can be caused by many, many different conditions and injuries.
Though some people are more likely to experience back pain, such as people who have been in an accident or who have conditions like scoliosis, anyone can develop back pain under the right circumstances.
Treatments for Back Pain
At Champlain Spine and Pain Management, we offer our patients the best in care by using the latest technology, clinically-proven techniques, and experienced doctors and medical professionals to target the cause of your back pain and manage your symptoms.
During your consultation, your provider will discuss your history, concerns, symptoms, and goals with you. This is an important part of the process as we begin to put together a treatment plan that’s designed to successfully treat your back pain while fitting in with your lifestyle.
Some of the most common and successful treatments that we offer for back pain include:
The Discseel® procedure is a cutting-edge treatment that allows specialized physicians to treat patients with chronic back pain and degenerative disc disease. By using a biologic known as Fibrin, Discseel® is able to repair and seal damaged spinal discs to offer relief.
The Vertiflex Superion procedure is a highly-advanced treatment that is able to address lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) by placing the Superion implant to act as an extension blocker between two vertebrae.
Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure used to relieve pain. By using radio waves to heat up areas of nerve tissue, radiofrequency ablation can reduce signals being sent by that nerve. In turn, many patients experience pain relief for several months after their treatment.
Want More Information? Contact Us
If you’d like more information about the treatments we provide for back pain, or if you’d like to schedule your appointment, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Our team is here to support you with the best information and services possible.