Back pain can have many causes. It may result from soft tissue injury, structural injury, or degenerative and/or congenital conditions. It may also be associated with a person's lifestyle, general health, and age.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries affect the non-bony portions of the spine, such as the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and nerves.

  • Sprains and Strains occur when a ligament or a tendon has been stretched beyond its limit. Sprains in the ligaments that support the spine are tears, and they can occur from twisting or lifting improperly.
  • Muscle Spasms occur when a muscle has been overworked or overstretched. Sometimes spasms can be so severe that they prevent a person from standing upright.
  • Nerve Compression (compressive neuropathy) may occur when a disc slips, bulges, herniates, or ruptures. A compressed nerve may cause pain to radiate or extend into the buttock or down the leg(s). It can even be felt in the ankles and feet. Sensations of tingling, numbness, and weakness might accompany pain. Sciatica is an example of a compressive neuropathy. The sciatic nerve travels down from the spine through each buttock and into the legs.

Back Pain Treatment: Minimally Invasive Options

Have you Tried all Options to Treat Your Lower Back Pain?
See if you qualify for back pain treatment associated with herniated & bulging disc by using our Physician Locator to find an outpatient office near you. Or call us toll free at 1-888-747-7470. See our video testimonials for real life successes and learn more about this minimally invasive procedure.

(View a Patient Education Video treating low back pain)

Structural Injuries

Structural injuries affect the bones and discs and can cause chronic back and leg pain.

  • Disc Herniations occur when the outer wall of the disc (the annulus) becomes damaged or weakened and the inner part of the disc (the nucleus) bulges out. Disc herniations can vary in size and level of containment within the disc itself. For example, they may be contained within the annulus or protrude through the annulus into the spinal canal. Disc herniations often compress spinal nerves to cause back and/or leg pain.
  • Spinal Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal and/or the neuroforamen (windows) where the nerves exit the spinal canal. This disorder is associated with aging. When the neuroforamen are closed, the spinal nerves become compressed or trapped.

Degenerative and/or Congenital Conditions

Many medical problems can cause or contribute to back pain. These may be degenerative conditions associated with the aging process or congenital conditions that exist from birth:

  • Degenerative Disc Disease is a breakdown of vertebral discs that occurs with age. As discs deteriorate, they lose their cushioning ability.
  • Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine.
  • Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebrae slips over another.
  • Arthritis is a joint disease causing inflammation and pain.
  • Osteoarthritis is a degenerative form of arthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive arthritis that can be painfully destructive.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis is rheumatoid arthritis of the spine.
  • Osteoporosis occurs with a decrease in bone mass and density resulting in porous, brittle bones. This condition may cause painful fractures of the vertebrae.

Even though back pain usually results from a physical condition, emotional stress can affect the severity of the pain and its duration. Stress can cause back muscles to become tense and painful. Untreated depression and anxiety can intensify back pain. Lack of sleep can also contribute to back pain.

How You Can Help Prevent Back Pain:

  • Standing - Feet should be spaced slightly apart and your knees should be straight. Keep your head up and stomach pulled in. Do not wear high heels or stand in one position for a prolonged period of time. Shift your weight from one foot to the other frequently. Elevating one foot on a stool may be helpful.
  • Sitting - Choose a chair of appropriate height with good lumbar support. A small pillow or rolled towel behind the lumbar area can help provide adequate support. Try to sit close to the work area and keep your feet flat on the ground or supported on a footrest. Your head and shoulders should be erect and balanced. Get up and stretch frequently!
  • Lifting - Don't lift objects that are too heavy or cumbersome. When lifting, keep the object close to your body, keep your back straight, your head up, and rely on your arms and legs. Tightening your stomach muscles will help keep your back in balance.
  • Sleeping - When sleeping, try to remember good posture by sleeping on your side or on your back. A good mattress should provide firm support for the spine and the body. Place a pillow between your knees (for side sleeping) or under your knees (for back sleeping) to remove stress from the lower back. Use a moderately thick pillow under your head to maintain the natural curves of the spine.
  • Exercising - Talk to your physician before performing exercises. Stretching exercises may help loosen tight back muscles. Strengthening abdominal muscles with abdominal crunches may decrease the tendency for back pain, but be sure that you are performing these exercises correctly so you do not place additional strain on your back.

Managing and Treating Back Pain

Pain control is a fundamental part of the treatment of back pain. Methods for managing and treating back pain range from minimally invasive treatments to invasive surgical procedures. Visit our Treatment Options page or the Lumbar directory page to learn more about lower back pain associated with herniated and bulging disc.

Watch this Patient Education Video about the procedure and hear what patients say about treating their lower back pain with the patented SpineJet technology using high speed water.