Your back is a complex structure made of bones, joints, discs, ligaments, muscles, and nerves. When something goes wrong with even the smallest part of this intricate structure, even simple movements can cause pain or discomfort. Common causes of back pain include:
Discs are the rubbery layers of cartilage that act as cushions between the bones of your spine. When a disc herniates, or ruptures, it can irritate nearby nerves and cause burning back pain that may radiate down one of your legs. Discs that bulge out of position but haven’t ruptured can also cause back pain.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that causes the breakdown of cartilage in the joints of your spine, often leading to lower back pain. Spinal stenosis, or the narrowing of the spinal canal that sometimes comes with age, can cause back pain as well as sciatic nerve pain.
Lifting heavy objects or making sudden movements can cause painful microscopic tears in your muscles or ligaments. When an injury causes nerve or tendon damage, it can lead to chronic inflammation that prevents your body from healing normally. Left untreated, injury and inflammation can result in dull, perpetual back pain that worsens with time.
Sitting at a desk or standing for long periods of time can result in back pain, especially if you have misaligned vertebrae, poor posture, or a lack of proper support.
Although back pain can affect virtually anyone, it’s more common among middle-aged and older adults. A variety of factors can make you more likely to developing back problems as you age, including:
Having arthritis can either be an underlying cause of back pain or contribute to an existing problem. Smoking increases your chances of developing back problems, too, because it reduces the amount of nutrients and oxygen that reach your spinal discs.
At Advanced Brain & Spine, Dr. Melamed performs a comprehensive diagnostic investigation to find the underlying cause of your pain before treatment. You may initially benefit from over-the-counter pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy to reduce discomfort and inflammation.
Back pain that doesn’t respond to non-invasive methods can often be treated successfully with surgery. Whenever possible, Dr. Melamed uses minimally invasive endoscopic surgical techniques for maximal effectiveness. Not only can it be done with minimal disruption to surrounding tissues, but it also promotes a faster post-surgery recovery.