Lower Back Pain Conditions

Conditions that may cause low back pain and require treatment may include:

Herniated Disc

Herniated discs may also be referred to as bulging, protruding or ruptured. As discs degenerate and weaken, cartilage can bulge or be pushed into the space containing the spinal cord or nerve root. Permanent neurological damage may result if this condition is left untreated.

Sciatica

Sciatica is a condition in which a herniated or ruptured disc presses on the sciatic nerve, the large nerve that extends down the spinal column to its exit point in the pelvis and carries nerve fibers to the leg. This compression causes shock-like or burning low back pain combined with pain through the buttocks and down one leg to below the knee  In the most extreme cases, when the nerve is pinched between the disc and an adjacent bone, the symptoms involve not pain but numbness and some loss of motor control. The condition may also be caused by a tumor, cyst, metastatic disease or degeneration of the sciatic nerve root.

Spinal Degeneration

Spinal degeneration from disc wear and tear can lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal. A person with spinal degeneration may experience stiffness in the back upon awakening or may feel pain after walking or standing for an extended period of time.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is related to congenital narrowing of the bony canal and predisposes some people to pain related to disc disease.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a metabolic disease marked by progressive decrease in bone density and strength.  Fracture of brittle, porous bones in the spine and hips results when the body fails to produce new bone and/or absorbs too much existing bone. 

Skeletal Irregularities

Irregularities in the spine produce strain on the vertebrae and supporting muscles, tendons, ligaments and tissues supported by the spinal column. These irregularities can include:

  • scoliosis - curving of the spine to the side
  • kyphosis - irregular curving of the upper back
  • lordosis - irregular curving of the lower back

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue and multiple 'tender points' in the neck, back, shoulders and hips. Additional symptoms may include sleep disturbances, morning stiffness and anxiety.

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