If you suffer from spinal discomfort that includes pain, tingling, weakness, or numbness, you should visit your primary care physician to find out more about what causes back pain. The good news is that most discomfort in the back or neck is caused by a sprained ligament or strained muscle, which will likely heal over a period of months or weeks with conservative treatments. However, there is the possibility that your back or neck pain is caused by a degenerative spine condition, in which case your doctor will likely perform a series of examinations and medical imaging tests to confirm a diagnosis.
Degenerative Spine Conditions
There are a variety of degenerative spine conditions that can cause back pain, including:
- Herniated disc – A tear in the outer wall of an intervertebral disc allows the inner disc material (nucleus pulposus) to extrude into the spinal canal.
- Bulging disc – The nucleus pulposus pushes against the disc wall and causes the disc to extrude beyond its natural perimeter into the spinal canal.
- Spondylolisthesis – A vertebra slips forward and over the vertebra beneath it.
- Spinal arthritis – The gradual deterioration of cartilage surrounding the spinal facet joints.
- Spinal stenosis – A general narrowing of the spinal canal, exacerbated by any of the above conditions.
Degenerative spine conditions all have one thing in common – they pose a risk of spinal nerve compression, which can lead to debilitating pain and other symptoms in the back, neck, and extremities. However, about 90 percent of people who suffer from degenerative conditions will be able to manage their discomfort with conservative treatment methods, including hot-cold therapy, intermittent rest, behavior modification, and pain medication. If weeks or months of these treatments prove ineffective, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our orthopedic experts are standing by to tell you more about degenerative conditions and your treatment options. We offer a variety of minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that utilize state-of-the-art endoscopic technology. Request your complimentary MRI or CT scan review today.