When dealing with back and neck pain, it is important to have your pain
evaluated by a professional. Simply dismissing back or neck pain as
typical and unimportant can be a very harmful mistake.
Overuse or under use of the back muscles is by far the most common
cause of back pain that manifests as tightening or spasm of the muscles
that connect to the spine. Inflammation and swelling often occur in the
joints and ligaments, especially in the cervical and lumbar regions, as
Many conditions can cause back and neck pain, ranging from injury to
infection to simply twisting the wrong way. Traumatic injuries such as
those sustained in an automobile accident or other type of accidents can damage muscles, joints, ligaments, and
A herniated disc occurs when the nuclear pulposus, the inner material
of the disc, pushes through a tear in the annulus fibrosis, the outer
material of the disc causing nerve root compression. The cervical and
lumbar regions of the spine have the most mobility and the discs there
are more likely to wear down or be injured. Ninety percent of disc
herniations occur in the lower two lumbar vertebrae.
Spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal canal, can cause spinal
cord irritation and injury. Conditions that cause spinal stenosis include
infection, tumors, trauma, herniated disc, arthritis, thickening of
ligaments, growth of bone spurs, and disc degeneration. Spinal stenosis
most commonly occurs in older individuals as a result of vertebral
nerve, or radiculopathy, occurs when something rubs or presses against a
nerve, creating irritation or inflammation. Radiculopathy can result
from a herniated disc, bone spur, tumor growing into the nerves, and
vertebral fracture, and many other conditions.
Sciatica is a certain type of radiculopathy that involves inflammation
of the sciatic nerve. Pain is experienced along the large sciatic
nerve, from the lower back down through the buttocks and along the back of
A spinal tumor that originates in the spine (primary tumor) or spreads
to the spine from another part of the body (metastatic tumor) can
compress the spine or nerve roots and cause significant pain.
Infections of the vertebrae (e.g., vertebral osteomyelitis), the discs,
the meninges (e.g., spinal meningitis), or the cerebrospinal fluid can
compress the spinal cord and result in serious neurological
deterioration, if it is not diagnosed and treated immediately.
Facet joints allow movement of the spine. The facet joints are formed
by two adjacent vertebra and direct or guide movement of the spine.
As facet joints degenerate, they may not align correctly, and the
cartilage and fluid that lubricates the joints may deteriorate. Bone then
rubs against bone, which can be very painful.
These are just a few of the conditions that can be responsible for back
and neck pain. Thankfully, most cases of back and neck pains are
related to mechanical causes and can be readily addressed by a trained
chiropractor. The point is, however, pain is a warning signal that should
not be ignored. The best place to have your back and neck pain
evaluated is with a chiropractor.
My chiropractic office in San Diego California is like many across the
United States. While chiropractic care helps many different
conditions, it is often viewed as treatment for back pain and neck pain.