Millions of Americans suffer from back pain. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, lower back pain is among the most common types of pain, with frequent back pain affecting over 26 million Americans ages 20 to 64 years old. Back pain can make performing ordinary tasks difficult and excruciating. In fact, this type of pain is the number one cause of disability for Americans under 45 years old.
There are a number of different factors that can cause back pain. It’s often a symptom of a disease or condition or spinal injury or trauma. Read on to gain a better understanding of the common causes of back pain.
- Spinal Stenosis. Spinal stenosis is the abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal and can occur in any spinal region. The narrowing restricts the spinal canal, causing a neurological deficit. While spinal stenosis can be genetic, it primarily develops as a result of aging. Symptoms of spinal stenosis include radiating pain, numbness, weakness, abnormal sensations, and loss of motor control.
- Spondylolisthesis. Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which the vertebra slides out of place onto the vertebra below it. It typically happens in the lower spine and can cause the pinching of your nerves, resulting in back pain, numbness, and weakness.
- Traumatic Injury. Accidents, such as a fall, sporting accident or vehicle collision, can lead to a traumatic injury. Traumatic injuries involve the injury of your muscles, tendons and/or ligaments and can result in the compression of the spinal nerves. This can cause severe back pain and even lead to sciatica (see next point).
- Sciatica. Sciatica is caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve, which moves from your spine to the buttocks and down to the back of your legs. This compression causes burning and shock-line sensations in the lower back, as well as the buttocks and legs, and can occasionally reach the foot. It’s often due to the degeneration of an intervertebral disk and can also be caused by a cyst or tumor applying pressure on the sciatic nerve.
These are some common causes of chronic back pain. Contact a spinal neurosurgeon like Dr. J Kevin Kaufman to learn more about back pain and the available treatment options.