The causes of chronic back pain vary but quite often stem from
degenerative disc disease due to osteoarthritis or from an injury.
Degenerative disc disease is an unwanted aspect of ageing. The protective discs that sit between the
vertebrae in the spine can start to wear down and shrink. This causes the bones
in the spine to rub against one another leading to back pain and stiffness. Sufferers
can also experience weakness in the legs.
Discs can also get torn and ruptured, due to a sports injury,
or because of an occupational hazard when turning, twisting, or lifting items.
A herniated disc (sometimes referred to as a slipped disc) occurs when part of
the disc’s central nucleus pushes out through a tear. When it comes into
contact with a nerve this can lead to pain or weakness in an arm or leg.
These are some of the most common conditions we see at
Priory The BMI Hospital, Birmingham:
Sciatica: This refers to irritation of the nerve that
runs from the pelvis to the feet. People with sciatica can experience sharp,
burning or stabbing pain in the lower back, a pain that can radiate down either
one or both legs. A tingling sensation, weakness or numbness can also occur in
the legs. Causes are arthritis, injuries, and herniated discs.
Spinal stenosis: This form of nerve root compression is
caused when the spinal canal reduces in size so the spinal nerve can no longer
function properly. The narrow spinal canal affects the nerves and symptoms can
include having a numb, cramp-like pain. It often presents in older patients due
Spondylolisthesis: A condition that can cause back
pain and stiffness as well as reduced flexibility and fatigue. It occurs when
one spinal vertebra slips forwards relative to the one below – and this is again,
often as a result of disc degeneration.
Treatment for back problems can include medication, physiotherapy,
and injections. In severe cases surgery is a last resort. In many cases, in
fact, problems get better by themselves, or respond well to physiotherapy or injection
or laser therapy.
Access consultant-led advice for your back condition. Book an appointment with a consultant at BMI The Priory Hospital.