Your spine is meant to move. In fact, movement is so essential to overall spine health that patients living with some degree of back pain are often encouraged to get regular exercise to maintain muscle strength. However, motion can sometimes be a double-edged sword and have a potentially painful impact on the spine. In severe cases, it can even lead to the need for spine surgery. Here are just a few of the ways motion can negatively impact your spine.
1. Strained Muscles
Flexors support the spine from the front, abdominal muscles stabilize the lower back, the obliques help with bending, and the extensor muscles enable standing and help hold up the spine. Any of these large muscles can affect your spine if they become inflamed from excessive twisting or bending or lifting something the wrong way.
2. Disc Herniation
The five vertebral motion segments of your lower spine make a lot of movements and endure an equal amount of daily strain. The lowest discs on this part of the spine are highly susceptible to damage, which often occurs in the form of a herniated disc. Protruding disc material can press on the adjacent sciatic nerve and cause both low back pain and radiating leg pain.
3. Cartilage Breakdown
If the cartilage protecting the joints of the spine (facet joints) wears down from excessive stress, the resulting friction can cause inflammation. Signs of pain related to worn cartilage include joint stiffness in the morning and later in the day and pain that radiates to the buttocks, hips, or thighs.
4. Bone Spurs
Excessive motion can result in the formation of potentially painful bone spurs, also known as irregular bone growths. Bone spurs often develop when discs wear down and joints become unstable. Disc degeneration may also cause benign, fluid-filled synovial cysts to develop. Bone spurs and synovial cysts can crowd out nerves and cause pain.
Though it’s important to keep moving to maintain a healthy spine, excessive stress can throw off alignment and stretch soft tissues and joints supporting your backbone. If you do experience occasional aches, take a break and apply some heat or ice. If the pain persists, see a doctor or board-certified spine physician in Beverly Hills.
If pain in your back or neck has been impacting your quality of life, it may be time to take measures to correct it. At The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration, Dr. Hyun Bae and his team of expert surgeons specialize in procedures like spinal fusion surgery, Mobi-C cervical disc replacement, and lumbar laminectomy surgery. Call our office today at 310-828-7757 to learn more and to schedule an in-person consultation.