Causes of Neck and Back Pain
Did you know that 80% of the population experiences back pain at some point in their lives? Neck and back pain is a common complaint that many people have that can severely affect your ability to enjoy your life and do the things you want to do.
There are many causes of neck and back pain. Some of the most common causes can be found listed below.
Over time, the soft compressible discs separating the vertebrae (spinal discs) break down, which can cause pain.
When a spinal disc bulges out or bursts, the pressure put on the nerves that run near the spinal cord can lead to pain.
Your spinal cord runs through your back bones (vertebrae) through a narrow space in the middle of your back bones called the spinal canal. Narrowing of this canal leads to the compression and irritation of the spinal cord and surrounding nerves, which can cause pain, tingling, and numbness.
The joints in your spine (facet joints) can also get arthritis similarly to the way you might get knee or hip arthritis.
Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
The sacroiliac joint, located in the pelvis, can also cause pain. This is frequently due to arthritis, pregnancy, and even an abnormal walking pattern.
When one or more of the bones in our spine weakens, it can cause the bone to collapse. This can be a result of osteoporosis and/or trauma.
Treatments for Neck and Back Pain
Treatment will depend on what is causing your pain. Always consult with your physician to decide what is the best option for you.
- Limit any heavy lifting. If you cannot avoid it, make sure you use good body mechanics.
- Maintain proper posture all day, whether you are sitting, standing, or even while you are sleeping!
- Medication may help to relax tight muscles, decrease inflammation, and to provide pain relief.
- Your physical therapist may evaluate what activities are increasing the pain in your neck and back and teach you better ways to perform them. He/she can also teach you different exercises that will strengthen your core muscles (such as your abdominal and back muscles), which will help decrease pain.
- Treatment may include heat, ice, massage, ultrasound, and electric stimulation.
Interventional Pain Management
Targeted injections of medications are used to decrease inflammation and pain.
Epidural Steroid Injection
An injection that delivers anti-inflammatory medication into a precise section of the spine. This reduces the inflammation around the nerves near your spine to help reduce pain.
Transforaminal Steroid Injection
Similar to an epidural steroid injection, a transforaminal epidural steroid injection will also administer anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce inflammation and pain. However, this procedure is a more focused injection that targets specific nerves. Your physician will determine which injection is more appropriate for your pain symptoms.
A procedure that will remove the sensation of pain that comes from the nerves surrounding the joints in your spine. Before this procedure can be performed, diagnostic nerve blocks will be performed in order to determine if this procedure is right for you.
Lysis of Adhesion
This procedure breaks up the scar tissues (adhesions) that can naturally develop around your spine after surgery or for other reasons. Injected medications can then reach their intended destination, which lowers inflammation and pain.
Percutaneous Disc Decompression
When a disc bulges (disc herniation) it can press on the surrounding nerves, causing pain that can spread to other parts of the body. This procedure removes part of the disc to decrease pain.
Spinal Cord Stimulator
A spinal cord stimulator sends electrical signals to your spinal cord. This effectively “confuses” the nerve signals that would make you feel pain.
As we age, osteoporosis and/or trauma can cause the bones in our spine to collapse. This is called a compression fracture, and it can cause excruciating pain. By injecting cement into the broken bone, we are able to fix the fracture, thereby decreasing pain without the need to undergo major back surgery.
Regenerative Medicine is a new treatment for pain that uses your own body cells to help heal injuries that may be at the source of your pain. Although it is not covered by health insurances, it can help heal injuries that might otherwise require surgery. Please check our page about Regenerative Medicine to learn more about this new cutting edge medical technology.
If you’ve tried all other treatments, surgery may be your last option. Surgery should only be considered as a last resort. Arthroscopy to remove scar tissue or to repair torn tissues. Larger reconstructions or shoulder replacements are other surgeries that your physician may consider.
The information on this website is not meant to diagnose or treat your pain.
It is for informational purposes only.
Always consult with your physician to decide what is the best option for you.
If you would like to make an appointment with one of our providers to learn more, please call us at