This is a very nonspecific symptom that can have a wide range of underlying causes. While each condition may have a different typical presentation of symptoms, it is always best to seek consult with a Chicago pain management doctor in order to receive a proper diagnosis.
- Overuse: Repetitive motions involving the back can cause strain to the muscles, ligaments and other structures of the back. This strain builds up over time, leading to progressive injury and irritation, particularly of the muscles and tendons. This can be typically found in people who work at a desk all day.
- Acute injury: Damage to the muscles and ligaments can result from acute physical trauma, such as from sport injuries, and accidents such as falls. Poor posture when lifting, or straining to lift heavy objects can also cause strain to the muscles of the back, leading to pain.
- Poor posture: People who slouch when they sit or stand put unnecessary and unnatural strain on the muscles and structures of the back. Correction pf posture through a program of physical and occupational rehabilitation is essential to addressing this condition.
- Myofascial pain: This has been known to particularly affect the large upper back muscles. Myofascial pain results from the irritation of the muscles and connective tissues of the back.
- Osteoarthritis: This is a progressively degenerative condition that appears with aging. People who are obese are also more prone to developing osteoarthritis. This condition occurs when the cartilage that provides smooth movement of the spine along the facet joints eventually breaks down, leading to the vertebral bodies rubbing directly against each other. The irritation and inflammation from this condition causes the symptoms of pain, and in severe cases, can lead to progressive weakness.
- Vertebral fracture: This condition has been noted to affect the elderly, particularly those suffering from osteoporosis. The weakened vertebrae are prone to fracture, and a compression fracture of several vertebrae can cause a spinal deformity known as the “dowager’s hump”.
- Herniated disc: Weakness in the annulus fibrosus (tough outer layer) of the intervertebral disc can lead to the nucleus pulposus (gelatinous inner layer) extruding, causing compression of the spinal nerve roots.
- Spinal deformity: Some people are born with spinal deformities, such as scoliosis, which is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. The malformation of the spine can cause compression and irritation of nerve roots along with back pain. So with adult scoliosis, the individual may suffer from both back and leg pain simultaneously.
- Spinal stenosis: This condition refers to the narrowing of the openings of the spine that allow the nerves to exit the spinal column. This narrowing causes irritation of the nerve endings, leading to pain.
- Degenerative disc disease: As you age, the intervertebral discs degenerate. The formerly gelatinous material becomes fibrous, and movement along the spinal column is less smooth. This can also lead to significant back pain, potentially disabling. Or it may just be a nuisance.
As can be seen, the causes of back pain are varied, and proper assessment by a top Chicago pain management doctor is necessary to get a proper diagnosis. Back pain can also be caused by conditions not directly related to the back, such as from cystitis or urinary tract infection.