Statistics show that most people will experience lower back pain at some point in their life, with the first incident occurring between 30 and 50. And according to a 2022 study, lower back pain is the leading cause of disability, reduced mobility, and work absence in the world. But why is the lower back plagued with such statistics? Medical experts explain that the fluid between your spinal vertebrae reduces as you age. This causes your spinal discs to become more vulnerable to irritation and inflammation. Your back also loses muscle tone with normal wear and tear, making it more prone to injury. But while a trauma can cause back pain, these five low back conditions Edison can also impair your mobility.
Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the space in your spinal canal. This narrowing usually pinches neighboring nerves or compresses the spinal cord, leading to pain, numbness, cramping, and weakness. While the symptoms can be felt anywhere in the body, they often occur in the lower back, legs, and feet. They may also worsen significantly when you walk or stand, limiting your range of motion.
The vertebrae in your spine are separated from each other by a disc. This disc allows for movement in the spine and acts as a shock absorber. Typically, a disc is said to be herniated when its gel-like center protrudes out of the outer layer and compresses against the spinal nerves or canal. This gel center usually contains proteins that can inflame a nerve root. Combined with compression, this inflammation can cause severe pain, numbness, and a restricted range of motion.
Spondylolisthesis is a medical condition characterized by the movement of a vertebra forward and over an underlying vertebra. Spondylolisthesis can be isthmic or degenerative. Overall, isthmic spondylolisthesis is more prevalent and is usually caused by bone deformities resulting from a genetic condition. Degenerative spondylolisthesis, on the other hand, is caused by normal wear and tear. Both conditions cause nerve compression and instability in the back, which can make movement very painful.
Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)
You are born with intervertebral discs filled with water for hydration and pressure resistance. As you age, your discs wear down and lose most of the water, leaving them weak to outside forces. Dehydrated discs then transfer force to the walls, which develop tears and weaken. This condition is called degenerative disc disease and can cause severe low back pain and even stenosis.
Sciatica is also called lumbar radiculopathy and refers to the compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in your body, connects your spine to your legs, running down your back and down both legs to your feet. While there are multiple causes of sciatica, the symptoms are almost always the same – back pain, foot and leg pain, burning sensation, or numbness in the legs.
Seek Low Back Treatment Today
Your lower back is responsible for many of your movements, including walking, lifting, lying down, sitting, and more. But because of its functions and the fact that it supports most of your upper body weight, your back can be very prone to injury and pain. These conditions can make movement unbearable, leading to disability and a lower quality of life. If you suspect you may be suffering from one of these low back conditions, contact a neurosurgeon today to discuss how you can restore your back.