4 Common Causes of Back Pain

Are you suffering from recurring or lingering back pain? Back pain can have many causes. Here are some common causes that we see and treat:
Disc Herniation: This condition occurs when the soft center of a spinal disc pushes through a crack in the tougher exterior casing. The herniated material can compress the nerves around the disc and create pain that radiates through the back and sometimes down the arms (if the herniation is in the cervical spine) and legs (if the herniation is in the lumbar spine). A common surgical treatment for this condition is to remove part of the back wall of the disc, but this can make it weaker and prone to further herniation.
Low-Back Disc Bulge: Though many patients understandably confuse the two, a bulging disc differs from a herniated disc. Discs serve as cushions between the vertebrae, and when one of these discs loses its normal shape and compresses a spinal nerve a bulging disc occurs. Unlike herniated discs, bulging discs have not broken through their outer shell-like casing. We have even seen cases where bulging discs and bone spurs occur at the same time. Surgical approaches involve cutting out the bulge that’s pressing on a spinal nerve and causing sciatica. It should be noted, that the failure rate of these types of surgeries can be as high as 30% and result in recurring pain and the need for additional surgeries.
Multifidus Muscle Pain or Atrophy: The multifidus is a spinal muscle located deep in the back that stablizes of the spine. Over time, the multifidus can shrink, resulting in functional problems and lower back pain. Many people suffer from multifidus back pain and have never been diagnosed with it. There is a large and growing body of research that correlates multifidus atrophy with recurring lower back pain. In our experience, the multifidus is a very important muscle that should be looked at in every low-back pain patient.
Spinal Stenosis: Often times, spinal stenosis results from disc changes, thickening of spine ligaments and bone spurs that are caused by osteoarthritis.  The spinal canal narrows and the spaces between the vertebrae start to get smaller, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Traditional treatment plans are to cut out bone, ligament, and muscle, but it should be noted that this results in lower spine stability.
The human spine is very complex, and trying to rearrange the biomechanics of the spine with discectomies, fusions and other invasive surgeries can result in less than positive outcomes. Before comitting to these treatments or deciding to undergo invasive surgeries, we recommend identifying the interventional orthopedic solutions that are available to patients today.
Dr. Orlando Landrum

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