One of the most common pain complaints among adults is back pain. Ranging from occasional and mild to chronic and life-altering, most adults will experience some type of back pain during their lives. Back pain can affect your ability to stand or walk, and make even the most routine tasks very difficult. Sometimes, back pain results from specific activities or actions, such as improper lifting, overexertion, poor posture, injury or trauma. In many other cases, back pain is a symptom of structural problems within the spine.
Back Pain Treatments in The Woodlands
Depending on the cause and severity of the back pain, and a patient’s overall health, treatment options may include:
If you’ve been experiencing back pain for more than a week after resting and avoiding overuse, it’s important to find the source of the pain. A pain specialist, like those at Pain Management Center of Houston can help. Our team in The Woodlands will look at your medical history and take images that will help them identify the source of your back pain. From there they can provide options for management and treatment.
Our team is focused on helping patients experiencing many different types of back pain including the following:
Lumbar osteoarthritis, also known as spinal arthritis, is a symptom of arthritis that affects the spine. Osteoarthritis is often caused by a breakdown of the cartilage in the facet joints which link together the spine’s vertebrae and abnormal bony growths that grow on the vertebrae. Osteoarthritis usually occurs over a number of years and usually develops in older adults.
Symptoms of lumbar arthritis include
- Endometriosis making it difficult to twist or bend, especially in the morning
- Fibroid tumors that shoots through the buttocks, thighs, or pelvic area
- Muscle spasms in the neck or lower back
- Pain, tenderness and/or numbness in the neck, shoulders, hips or knees
- Weakness or numbness in legs or arms
Vertebral Compression Fractures
Fractures of the spine are most commonly fractures to the “body” of the bones of the spinal column. The incidence of this injury increases with age, as women who are postmenopausal and men older than 65 year of age are of increased risk for these fractures. The most common cause for these fractures is osteoporosis, but trauma, infection, and tumors can all lead to this type of injury. While it is possible to heal over time from these fractures, when left untreated, these injuries can cause worsening of pain, breathing, general activity, and blood clots, and have been associated with worsened mortality.
Common symptoms of vertebral compression fractures include:
- Sudden onset of back pain
- Pain when applying pressure over the back
- Poor mobility of the back
- Pain worse with standing and walking
A very common complaint that people often have is tailbone pain related to sitting. The causes for this can be broad related to trauma to the area, repetitive stress (sitting on hard surfaces, operating heavy machinery), childbirth, prior infections or tumors. The pain itself is often related to either increased or decreased motion of the bones of the tailbone, pain originating from the ligaments, or pain originating from the tailbone itself.
The common symptoms of pain in this region include:
- Low back pain
- Pain that originates from the tailbone and radiates to the back of the thigh
- Pain with sitting
- Pain that improves with standing or changes in position
Lumbar Herniated Disc
A herniated disc is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. It occurs when wear-and-tear or injury weakens a spinal disc and causes its gel-like center to leak outside the outer ring of the disc. When a disc ruptures (or herniates) it can press on the spinal cord and nerves surrounding the disc, causing pain. Additionally, the material in the disc’s center is an irritant. When it leaks into the spinal column, it contributes to nerve inflammation.
Herniated disc symptoms vary, in fact some patients have no pain while others experience extreme pain. Herniated discs can occur anywhere along the spine with the most common place being in the lower back (lumbar spine). They can also occur in the neck (cervical spine) and more rarely in the upper back (thoracic spine).
The most common symptoms of a herniated disc are:
- Sharp, shooting pain from the buttocks down the back of one leg (also referred to as sciatica)
- Leg or foot numbness or tingling
- Weakness in the muscles near the herniated disc. You may experience stumbling, or inability to lift or hold items.
- Rarely, loss of bladder or bowel control
Lumbar Herniated Disc
Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when the open spaces within the lower back (lumbar spine) narrow, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This condition is most common in people ages 50 and up. The most common symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis are extreme lower back and leg pain. In extreme cases, symptoms may include difficulty maintaining balance while standing and walking and bowel and bladder problems. Symptoms are worse while standing or walking, because gravity puts more pressure on the spine.
While some cases of lumbar spinal stenosis are congenital (meaning they were present at birth), most cases occur as a result of age-related changes in the body such as
- Bone spurs on the spine
- Shifting of vertebrae in the lower back
- Thickening of spinal column ligaments
- Spinal tumors
- A bone disorder called Paget’s disease
Lumbar Herniated Disc
Sciatica is the name for pain associated with the sciatic nerve, which extends from the lower back through the buttocks and down each leg. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched or irritated. This can commonly be caused by a herniated disc, muscle spasm, or a bone spur on the spine. Other causes of sciatica include pressure on the sciatic nerve resulting from being pregnant or overweight; a tumor compressing the nerve; lumbar spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis (when a vertebra slips out of place and compresses another vertebra.)
Symptoms of sciatica include generalized lower back pain that radiates to the lower body; buttocks or leg pain that worsens while seated; continual buttocks or hip pain; and leg or foot tingling, numbness, or pain. Sciatica symptoms usually occur on only one side of the body.
Leg pain may result from an easy-to-identify cause such as trauma, injury, or overexertion – or it may be caused by musculoskeletal degeneration that has occurred over time. In the latter cause, normal wear and tear weakens the leg bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles and eventually causes pain. Sometimes, leg pain is a symptom of a spinal condition affecting the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, down the backs of the legs.