A common cause of back pain, arthritis of the joints in the vertebrae (facet joints) usually develops as we age. The vertebral bones slowly degenerate over time and can pinch nerves or other supportive tissue to cause inflammation. Depending on the amount of degeneration and the location of arthritis, you may experience pain in your low back, upper back, hips, as well as radicular symptoms in the legs.
The cartilaginous discs between our vertebral bones degenerate as we age, resulting in a loss of disc space between the vertebrae. Spinal stability may decrease and the vertebrae react by increasing bone growth (called bone spurs). These growths may put pressure on the spinal roots causing inflammation, or the spinal cord to cause pain. Several treatments are available, depending on the location and amount of degeneration.
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS)
Some patients may experience chronic pain after surgery, aka post-laminectomy syndrome. The factors that contribute to FBSS include residual or recurrent disc herniations, scar tissue buildup, persistent compression on spinal nerves, & altered joint stability or mobility. Depending on the severity of condition, various treatments are available.
Common syndrome where the person has whole body pain with “tender points” of pain in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. The cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown, but often mimics other chronic pain problems. Triggers for Fibromyalgia may include emotional or physical trauma, infections, activity, weather, anxiety, or stress.
Muscle pain, aches, spasms, or tightness may result from damage to the muscles or nearby soft tissue. Pain may be perceived at a location other than the original stimulus (referred pain).
Radicular Nerve Pain
Peripheral nerves in the extremities may cause pain if they are either inflamed or compressed when they enter the spinal column. Osteoarthritis or disc herniations may cause numbness/tingling, burning, or shooting pain from the spinal column down the affected extremity.
Stress fractures as a result of trauma or osteoarthritis of the vertebrae may lead to vertebral fractures. Symptoms of fractures vary greatly on the severity and location of the fracture but may include: achy and dull sensation, muscle weakness or spasms, numbness/tingling, or paralysis in severe cases.