What Causes Serious Lower Back Pain?
Most people will experience various degrees of back pain at one point or another. But serious lower back pain, as well as other painful symptoms, may be a sign of a more serious medical condition. Pinpointing the precise cause of serious lower back pain can help board-certified spine doctors better identify any underlying conditions or injuries that are responsible for a patient’s serious lower back pain.
After discovering the hidden conditions responsible for serious lower back pain, spine surgeons can begin providing advanced spinal care tailored to each patient’s specific needs. With a renowned staff of dedicated spinal experts, the team at New Jersey Spine Specialists treats various spine conditions that cause serious lower back pain, allowing patients living throughout northern New Jersey to enjoy a pain-free lifestyle.
Serious Lower Back Pain From Muscle Strains & Sprains
Muscle strains and sprains commonly arise from awkwardly jerking or bending the spine, irritation from repetitive activity, or traumatic injuries such as motor vehicle accidents. When injured, these muscles become inflamed, tender and sore, which leads to pain with simple daily activities.
Serious Lower Back Pain From Disc Herniation
Disc herniation is the most common culprit of back and neck pain. A herniated disc can pain to manifest in the lower back that radiates throughout the entire body. Spinal discs normally act as shock absorbers by providing cushion and spacing between the vertebral bodies. But over time, these discs can degenerate, become injured and bulge out (herniate). As a result, the viscous material from the interior of the disc will ooze into the spinal canal, thereby producing intense pain from irritating sensitive nerves on one side of the body. Signs and symptoms of herniated discs depend on the location in the spine and whether the disc presses against a nerve. The most prevalent symptoms a patient will experience include pain in the buttocks, thigh, and calf, numbness or tingling from the affected nerves, muscle weakness, issues with stability and difficulty lifting and holding items.
Serious Lower Back Pain From Sciatica
Sciatica generates different levels of pain in the lumbar spine or buttocks to your legs when the sciatic nerve becomes irritated or compressed. Degenerative disc disease, pinched nerves, or a herniated disc can also cause sciatica to manifest between the backbone levels of L4 and S1. Patients typically report common symptoms like serious lower back pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, slower reflexes, and muscle spasms. Several other conditions can influence the progression of sciatica such as the narrowing of the spinal cord in the lower back (lumbar spinal stenosis), a disc that slipped over the vertebra below it (spondylolisthesis), a tumor or infection in the spine, and traumatic injuries to the spine.
A patient’s preferred spine specialist can give an accurate diagnosis after completing a combination of diagnostic tests on NJ-based patients. These tests include evaluating muscle strength and reflexes and using diagnostic imaging such as X-rays, MRIs, CT Scans, and Electromyography (EMG).
After receiving an accurate diagnosis from a board-certified spine doctor at NJSS, patients living in Montclair, Chatham, and the nearby towns can begin a personalized treatment regimen. Rather than elect for a surgical approach, the doctors at New Jersey Spine Specialists can treat sciatica patients with serious lower back pain through a set of conservative methods such as:
- Physical activity modification
- Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Epidural Injections
- Low-impact exercises
- Stretching techniques
- Physical Therapy
Serious Lower Back Pain From Spinal Stenosis
Spinal Stenosis occurs when the sensitive spinal nerve roots become compressed. While the majority of affected patients are over the age of 50, degenerative changes can cause younger patients to develop this painful condition. These changes may include trauma, a congenital spinal deformity like scoliosis, or even a genetic disease affecting bone and muscle development. Spinal Stenosis symptoms tend to fluctuate between patients, ranging from mild and manageable pain, numbness or tingling in the extremities from pinched nerves, serious lower back pain, and a limited range of mobility. Since symptoms of spinal stenosis are so similar to symptoms of other spinal conditions, it can be difficult to properly diagnose this painful condition. But the NJSS team can deploy advanced imaging tests – like an MRI, CT, and X-rays – to identify the location of the narrowing spine. Spinal Stenosis can manifest as the result of other conditions such as wear and tear damage from osteoarthritis, complications from spinal injuries, and abnormal growths on the spinal cord and within vertebrae.
Board-certified spine experts classify spinal stenosis depending on its location within the spine. Cervical stenosis occurs in the upper regions near the neck while the more common Lumbar stenosis occurs in the lower regions of the spine. Treatment for spinal stenosis may include pain relievers such as ibuprofen, decompression surgery, laminectomy, and physical therapy. Most patients with spinal stenosis become less active to reduce pain. Unfortunately, this can lead to muscle weakness, resulting in more pain. Luckily, a certified physical therapist can teach patients effective exercises to build strength and endurance, maintain the spine’s stability and flexibility, and improve balance.
Serious Lower Back Pain From Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. Osteoarthritis – or arthritis of the spine – is a degenerative disease that breaks down bone near weight-bearing joints and disc cartilage over time. Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain during or after movement, joint stiffness, loss of flexibility, swelling, and bone spurs. Spine specialists refer to osteoarthritis as a “wear and tear” disease because it causes deterioration of the connective tissues that hold the joint together and attaches muscle to bone. Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Other risk factors that patients should look out for include age, obesity, joint injuries, genetics, bone deformities, and certain metabolic diseases.
Patients can receive an accurate osteoarthritis diagnosis from a board-certified spine surgeon. Doctors will conduct a physical examination, checking for joint tenderness, swelling, redness, and flexibility. Spine experts can get a clearer picture of a patient’s condition through diagnostic imaging tests such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is irreversible, but treatments can reduce pain and help patients move without experiencing crippling pain. Patients can manage their serious lower back pain from osteoarthritis with over-the-counter medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and surgical intervention when necessary.
Serious Lower Back Pain From Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic condition that disturbs muscles and the connective tissue, causing serious lower back pain and inflammation. Myofascial pain syndrome can target a muscle group or even a single muscle.
Sensitive areas of tight muscle fibers can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse. These sensitive trigger points in a muscle can cause strain and pain. Common symptoms include a tender knot in a muscle, difficulty sleeping due to pain, persistent pain that worsens over time, tingling sensations, stiffness, and decreased range of motion.
While it isn’t clear what causes Myofascial pain syndrome, spine experts have found possible culprits such as poor posture, stress, repetitive work activities, and overuse of muscles. Once a spine expert diagnoses a patient width Myofascial Pain Syndrome, subsequent treatment usually includes a combination of medications, trigger point injections, and physical therapy.
Treat Your Serious Lower Back Pain At New Jersey Spine Specialists
New Jersey Spine Specialist’s doctors have an extensive history in treating many patients from all over northern New Jersey for serious lower back pain. With locations at Summit’s Overlook Hospital and Montclair’s Mountainside Hospital, New Jersey Spine Specialist’s leading team of spine surgeons provides patients living near Millburn, Livingston, and Maplewood with expert care tailored to each unique case. NJSS also offers remote telemedicine sessions and phone consultations for a variety of spine-related needs. Virtual appointments are a great option for patients with hectic schedules and cannot visit the office during normal hours.
If you begin to experience serious lower back pain, don’t suffer in silence a moment longer. Schedule a consultation at our state-of-the-art office to learn about which minimally invasive treatment options can work for you. To find out more about how our minimally invasive treatments can lessen your serious lower back pain, give us a call by dialing (908) 738-1679.
“I am pain free, walking and well on my way to recovery thanks to the help of New Jersey Spine Specialists” —Robert K
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“I am pain free, walking and well on my way to recovery thanks to the help of New Jersey Spine Specialists” –