Something that we all share at some point in our lives, is back pain. You may be spending a great amount of time looking for answers, with this big question in mind: “why is my back hurting?” And so to answer this, we will first explain the basics of the spinal cord before exploring eight possible causes of your back pain. It may even be the case, that this helps you to consider a spinal cord injury treatment.
The spinal cord:
The spine is made up of 24 bones which together are called ‘vertebrae’, a bone named the ‘sacrum’, and another bone named ‘coccyx’. These bones all share the responsibility of protecting nerves which connect the spine to the brain. Between each vertebrae is a disc space that is formed of cartilage and filled with a a thick gel type liquid; creating a shock absorbing skill of the spinal cord. Lastly, those bones are all kept together with small joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles, otherwise known as ‘facets’.
Possible cause one: pain of the disc
The way that we naturally age may cause discs (between vertebrae) to be moved out of their normal space; the medical field understand this to be a ‘bulging’ disc. A disc may also be damaged because of: an inherited trait, generally being worn/torn, or a sudden trauma. If a disc if impacted by one of those three ways, it can leak the gel type liquid out, or ‘rupture’. Both a ruptured disc and a disc being moved out of a normal space are a leading cause of back pain.
Possible cause two: disease (degenerative disc disease)
Be it at the back or front of your mind, you may be thinking that a cause of back pain could be a disease. You would be right to do so, as a disease known as degenerative disc can cause you to experience back pain. This disease comes naturally with age when discs lose their water levels, and become less cushiony. While you may read ‘disease’, this is not actually the case. It is, instead, a way of talking about the condition of discs in the spine as a whole. Without taking any spinal cord injury treatment for a ‘disease’ like this, the effect can be the onset of osteoarthritis, discs being pushed from their normal space, or a ‘bulging’ disc.
Possible cause three: pain of the facet
If the facet that holds the bones of the spinal cord together have any damage to either of the two nerves that supply it, then it can become swollen and lead to a painful back.
Possible cause four: a nerve that is pinched
If a disc has been forcibly moved from its normal position, it may crush or apply pressure to a nerve. The nerve which is most commonly impacted is the ‘sciatic nerve’, which is positioned between the base of the spine and the leg). If this happens, a pain which is sharp and frequent may be felt in the lower back, leg, or buttock region of the body.
Possible cause five: stenosis of the spine
If you have developed arthritis, the spinal canal can become thin, which affects nerves and can cause pain.
Possible cause six: strain of the muscle or ligament
Undertaking an exercise which is long or difficult, or even carrying an object which is too heavy can cause pain to develop in the lower part of the back. Exercise (if done incorrectly) by lifting or sitting at different parts of your workout can create pain in the lower back area, because this is where muscles, ligaments, and discs experience pressure as a result of the exercise.
Possible cause seven: osteoarthritis
This is a type of arthritis. It acts as a reminder of our age, in that as we gain age, the spinal vertebrae lose their water level, and cushiony features. This causes them to become thinner, and less flexible. The bone responds to these issues by creating small ridges that are known as ‘osteophytes’ or ‘bone spurs’, which can move against each other, causing you to experience back pain from irritation.
Possible cause eight: fibromyalgia
This is a condition that women are more affected by than men. This condition is an abnormality of the ways in which the body handles pain. It cripples mechanisms of the brain which process pain, meaning that the brain is very sensitive to feelings from the senses of the spinal cord, and that there are fewer protections to prevent a person feeling pain.
With these eight possible causes in mind, there is plenty to think about in approaching your answer and next steps to fixing your back pain. If you are worried about the treatment options available for back pain, then fear not, as new, successful treatment options are becoming more accessible than ever before. One of these options is epidural stimulation. This treatment involves passing an electrical current through the protective coating of the spine, the ‘dura’, to sensory neurons. Passing this electrical current through has been proven to help those who are paralysed, regain use of their body.