Back pain can originate from many sources and manifest itself in various ways. Injuries or abnormalities in the back can result in localized pain as well as general pain and malaise in other areas of the body.
There are back issues that are genetically based — the problem has passed from parents to their offspring. Back pain can also result from a sudden impact to the back caused by an accident, improper lifting, athletic training or other kinds of stress that push the back beyond its normal use and capacity.
Aging can also take its toll on the spine. On top of that, a sedentary lifestyle can produce chronic pain in the back and lower body because of continual pressure on the spine. If you are currently living with back pain, here are some possible causes.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is believed to result from various causes, with genetics as one of the many contributing factors. Spinal discs are sponge-like buffers between each of the vertebrae in the spinal column — keeping the vertebrae from making contact and allowing greater movement and flexibility in the spine.
When the discs become dry and brittle, they can crack, and the gel inside can leak out. This gel can irritate the spinal nerves, causing pain and possibly corrupting the flow of electrical impulses from the brain to the rest of the body. The vertebrae can also overlap without the buffering provided by a healthy disc, possibly damaging spinal nerves and nerve roots.
While disc dryness is often associated with aging, some individuals have a genetic predisposition to disc dryness and failure, with victims experiencing bulging discs at a younger age than usual.
Spondylosis, Spondylolisthesis and Spondylolysis
All of these conditions refer to the pain caused by the overlapping of one of the spinal vertebra onto the next vertebrae in the spinal column.
Spondylosis is often the result of aging and years of wear and tear on the spine. Cervical Spondylosis affects the vertebrae of the neck, which can become misaligned as spinal discs become corrupted, and the vertebrae damage spinal nerves. As brain impulses are compromised, a person may experience neck pain, headaches, and weakness in arms and legs.
Spondylolisthesis refers to overlapping of the spinal vertebrae of the lumbar — or lower spinal region. This condition may have genetic or aging components, but it is often caused by the pressure placed on the spine by athletic training that causes small stress fractures, causing vertebrae to become misaligned. Pain can be localized in the lower back or can travel down through the buttocks, legs and feet. This occurs when the sciatic nerve, which connects to the spinal nerves at the lowest L-5 vertebra, is irritated, pinched or otherwise damaged.
Spondylolysis is caused by stress fractures in the small arches that connect each spinal vertebrae to the ones directly above and below it. This condition is also often caused by intense athletic training but can also result from a genetic abnormality such as thin or elongated arches. When an arch fails, the vertebrae move out of proper alignment.
Sciatica is the term for pain in the lower body caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. While any of the above conditions can cause sciatic pain, extensive sitting or bad posture can also produce ongoing issues. Because the sciatic nerve begins at the base of the spine, sitting produces strong pressure on the lower vertebrae, especially in individuals who are overweight or inactive.
Chiropractic care is often a good choice for reducing back pain as well as improving your overall spinal health. Chiropractors will manually realign the spinal vertebrae to allow damage to the spinal nerves to heal. They can also stretch muscles that have tightened through inactivity. These muscles may prevent the spinal vertebrae from remaining in their proper alignment.
Visit Brentwood Chiropractic to explore your pain-relief options, so you can get your spine back on the road to good health.