Middle and Lower Back Pain
Your spine is a column of 24 movable bones (vertebrae) held together by muscles, tendons and ligaments and cushioned by shock-absorbing disks. A problem in any part of your spine can cause back pain which can be mild to excruciating and disabling.
Back Pain Treatment
Back pain may occur suddenly due to trauma or develop gradually as the result of wear and tear on your spine over time. Research has shown that chiropractic care, physical therapy, and massage therapy should be considered as effective treatment options. Surgery is rarely needed for back pain and is generally considered only as a last resort.
Back Pain Causes
Your back is an intricate structure composed of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and disks, the cartilage-like pads that act as cushions between the segments of your spine. Back pain can arise from problems with any of these anatomical structures. In some people, no specific cause for their back pain can be found.
Back pain may be caused by structural problems, such as:
- Bulging or herniated disks. Disks act as cushions between the vertebrae in your spine. Sometimes, the soft material inside a disk may bulge out of place or rupture and press on a nerve. But many people who have bulging or herniated disks experience no pain from the condition.
- Sciatica. If a bulging or herniated disk presses on the main nerve that travels down your leg, it can cause sciatica-sharp, shooting pain through the buttock and back of the leg.
- Arthritis. The vertebrae most commonly affected by osteoarthritis are those in the lower cervical and lower lumbar spine. In some cases arthritis in the spine can lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, a condition called spinal stenosis or a narrowing of the space around the spinal nerve roots called foraminal stenosis.
- Scoliosis or other skeletal irregularities. Back pain can occur if your spine curves in an abnormal way. If the natural curves in your spine become exaggerated, your upper back may look abnormally rounded or your lower back may arch excessively. Scoliosis, a condition in which your spine curves to the side, also may lead to back pain.
- Osteoporosis. Compression fractures of your spine's vertebrae can occur if your bones become porous and brittle.