How Back Pain Begins
Situation: Back pain usually begins with damage, degeneration, or disease to the discs in the back. The disc—frequently called the intervertebral discs—are a strong but elastic suspension system in between the vertebrae of the spinal column. These joints allow movements like twisting and bending. The intervertebral discs are composed of two basic structures, the inner viscous nucleus pulposus and the durable outer portion called the annulus fibrosis.
Causes: Annular tears—sometimes referred to as internal disc disruption—are often the first step to a disc herniation. Annular tearing begins when small radial slits occur, allowing the viscous nuclear material to leak to the outer third of the disc, irritating sensitive nerve endings. Annular tearing can occur throughout life resulting in episodic back pain. If left unchecked, the damage and deformation of the disc’s annular fibers can produce a complete disc herniation.
Symptoms: Symptoms can start with general stiffness, tightness and occasional sharp pain with movement. Symptoms over time can progress to achy pain that radiates in nature, muscle spasms, and altered posture.
Treatment: Treatments options can include chiropractic care, acupuncture, physical therapy, and massage therapy. The chiropractor will help determine what type of treatments and modalities are appropriate for you. Upon examination the doctor may order special testing such as an MRI. A concurrent referral may be placed to your medical doctor for specific medications to help make you comfortable.