Defined as any type of discomfort caused by added stress on the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints that allow the spine to move, mechanical back pain is one of the most common reasons for doctors’ visits in the United States. It’s usually treatable once the primary source is determined. Here are the most common causes of mechanical back pain, presented by leading Los Angeles spine surgeons.
While fairly durable and flexible, discs that support the spine are susceptible to wear and tear over time as well as injury. Herniation occurs when the inner gel-like layer of the disc breaks through the outer layer. Pain results if there is nerve compression.
Back and Neck Strain
Whether it’s from a sudden jolt or excessive twisting or bending, back and neck strain can over-stretch or tear soft tissues. The resulting pain may be felt as muscle spasms or stiffness.
Vertebral Compression Fractures
A VCF occurs when bones of the spine are damaged due to trauma, such as a hard fall. VCFs can also be caused by bone-weakening conditions like osteoporosis. Related pain is often sudden and severe, and sometimes kyphoplasty surgery is necessary to relieve pain.
Spondylosis, or osteoarthritis in the spine, is a progressive condition common in older adults. Inflammation caused by this type of arthritis affects the joints of the spine and may cause pain and stiffness aggravated by movement. Spondylosis also refers to other degenerative conditions of the spine.
Often affecting the lower back, spondylolisthesis can also cause neck pain. It’s a condition where one vertebra slides forward and over the adjacent vertebra below it. The severity of any pain or muscle spasms experienced depends on the degree of vertebral slippage.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
LSS develops when the spinal canal or nerve root passageways become narrow. The reduced space sometimes results in nerve compression. Pain can radiate beyond its original source to one or both legs if the sciatic nerve is affected.
About two-thirds of all American adults will suffer some degree of mechanical back pain at some point. The source of this type of pain is determined with MRIs and other image tests. Since back pain can be influenced by many factors, treatment often involves a combination of medication, physical therapy, and preventative measures.
If you have persistent back pain that has failed to respond to conservative treatments, it may be time to speak with a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who can discuss additional options with you. Call The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration today at (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation.