Back Pain / Sciatica

Back Pain / Sciatica

Back Pain Causes

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.

This condition is a weakening of one or more vertebral discs, which normally act as a cushion between the vertebrae. This condition can develop as a natural part of the aging process but it can also develop due to injury.

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.

This condition is a deterioration of the facet joints which help stabilize the spine and limit excessive motion.

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.

A herniated disc can push painfully against a nerve root, sending pain down the sciatic nerve and resulting in a burning, tingling and/or numbing sensation from the lower back down to one or both feet.

Irritation or compression of one or more nerve roots in the lumbar spine. Because these nerves travel to the hips, buttocks, legs, and feet, an injury in the lumbar spine can cause symptoms in these areas. Sciatica may result from a variety of problems with the bones and tissues of the lumbar spinal column.

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).

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.

New bone or soft tissue growth on the vertebrae, which reduces the space in the spinal canal. When the nerve roots are pinched, a painful burning, tingling and/or numbing sensation may be felt from the lower back down to the legs and sometimes all the way to the feet.

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.

Back Pain Relief Procedures

This minimally invasion procedure uses a small needle and probe device to reduce a herniated disc, quickly relieving pain in most patients. This procedure may be performed on an outpatient basis.

Also called discogram is a diagnostic procedure used to determine if back pain is caused by one or more discs. The procedure involves pressuring discs with an injection of sterile liquid to induce pain in the affected disc. This helps the specialist plan a course of treatment.

Each vertebra in the spine is connected to the vertebra above and below it by facet joints, which are located on both sides of the rear of the spine. A facet joint block can be both diagnostic and therapeutic for back or neck pain believed to originate from in these joints.

IDET is designed to alleviate the cause of low back pain caused by disc disease or small disc herniations. A catheter is entered into the painful disc and is heated to shrink the herniation and repair the tears.

Pump implant that delivers medicine to area surrounding the spinal cord to prevent pain signals from being perceived by the brain. A trial of several days is used to determine if the intrathecal pump will help the patient. If successful, the permanent pump is then implanted, usually in the abdomen.

Procedure designed to treat spinal fractures from osteoporosis. It is designed to provide rapid back pain relief and help straighten the spine.

Minimally-invasive technique is used to remove the herniated portion of a vertebral disc. It is very effective in eliminating leg pain (sciatica) caused by nerve root compression.

Relieves low back and radiating leg pain. Steroid medication can reduce the swelling and inflammation caused by spinal conditions. Usually a series of these injections are needed to provide full benefit.

A lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy is a minimally invasive procedure that reduces or eliminates the pain from damaged facet or sacroiliac joints by disrupting the medical branch nerves that carry pain signals.

Relieves leg pain caused by complex regional pain syndromes, which may develop after an injury to a joint or limb. Usually a series of injections are needed to treat the problem.

Relives low back and radiating leg pain. The steroid medication can reduce the swelling and inflammation caused by spinal conditions such as spinal stenosis, radiculopathy, sciatica, and herniated discs.

Diagnostic procedure to determine if a specific facet joint is the source of a patient’s pain. During the procedure, an anesthetic medication is administered to block the nerves serving the painful facet joints.

Minimally-invasive procedure using a small needle and advanced radiofrequency technology to reduce a herniated disc, quickly relieving pain in most patients.

Electrical impulses are used to relieve chronic pain of the back, arms and legs. It is believed that electrical pulses prevent pain signals from being received by the brain.

Reduces or eliminates the pain of damaged facet joints by cauterizing the medial branch nerves that transmit pain signals.

Relieves the pain caused by pinched nerves or discogenic pain in the lumbar spine by replacing a diseased or damaged disc with specialized metal and polyethylene prosthesis. The problem disc is surgically removed and the prosthetic implant helps correctly reposition the spine.

Minimally-invasive treatment used to repair spine fractures caused by osteoporosis or cancer. It stabilizes the spine, providing rapid back pain relief and helping prevent further weakening of the spine. The weakened area of the vertebrae is injected with bone cement to stabilize the fracture.

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