At some point, nearly everyone experiences back pain. In fact, it is one of the most common complaints among patients because it can be caused by so many different parts of the body, including the spine, the discs of the spine, the spinal cord, nerves, muscles, ligaments, and more. Additionally, back pain can be accompanied by other symptoms that make it hard to enjoy life and participate in daily activities.
If you are experiencing frequent back pain, don’t wait any longer to seek help. Dr. Hyun Bae is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at La Peer Health Systems’ Disc Replacement Center of Excellence and an expert in treating back pain. You can call (888) 309-2848 to set up an appointment today in Los Angeles.
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is pain that occurs anywhere below the ribs and above the legs. Because the lower back is an important connection point between the upper and lower parts of the body, it is more vulnerable to injury and pain. Some of the most common causes of lower back pain are:
- Injury, strain, or overuse of the back
- Herniated disc
- Compression fractures
Symptoms of lower back pain may also include numbness, muscle spasms, and tingling. If you lose bladder or bowel control or experience numbness in your legs, you should see a doctor immediately, as these may be symptoms of a more serious condition called cauda equina syndrome, which occurs when the nerves are squeezed at the end of the spinal cord.
The most common causes of lower back pain include the following:
- Lumbar strain – Parts of the back such as ligaments, tendons, and muscles have been stretched too far.
- Nerve irritation – Lumbar spine nerves are being irritated by pressure from bone or tissue.
- Lumbar radiculopathy – Lumbar spine nerves are being irritated by the damage to the discs between vertebrae.
- Encroachment – Growth or movement of the vertebra is encroaching on the spinal cord and nerves.
- Bone and joint conditions – These included congenital defects as well as injury and degenerative conditions.
Bulging Lumbar Disc
Also known as a “herniated disc” or “pinched nerve,” a bulging lumbar disc refers to a problem with one of the rubbery discs that sits between the vertebrae and cushions the spine. A bulging lumbar disc happens when some of the soft gel-like substance inside the disc pushes out through a crack or tear. This can lead to irritation of the nearby nerves, resulting in pain, numbness, or weakness in the arms or legs. Some people, however, experience no symptoms at all from a herniated bulging disc.
The most common cause of a bulging lumbar disc is age-related wear or disc degeneration. This happens due to the loss of water content in the spine that accompanies the aging process. Additionally, problems can be caused by using improper techniques when lifting heavy objects. More rarely, a bulging disc can result from a fall or trauma to the back.
Back Pain Relief
Back pain is a common concern for people, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence. In fact, there are a variety of treatments for back pain, ranging from stretching and exercises to alleviate mild pain to surgery for more serious cases. When you visit Dr. Bae, he will begin by assessing your medical history and administering a physical exam. If necessary, he may perform various diagnostic tests including:
- Blood and urine tests
- CAT scans
- MRI scans
- Bone scans
- Electromyograms (EMGs)
- Nerve conduction velocities (NCVs)
Once the doctor has accurately diagnosed your condition, he will work with you to decide upon the appropriate course of treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is sciatica?
A: Sciatica refers to a condition in which a hernia or ruptured disc is pressing on the sciatic nerve, causing a shock-like or burning pain in the lower back combined with pain down one leg.
Q: When should I see a doctor for back pain?
A: You should see a doctor for back pain any time it is affecting your quality of life. However, it is essential to see a doctor if you experience fever, weakness, trouble urinating, loss of bladder or bowel control, numbness in your legs, or unexplained weight loss.
Q: Who is most at risk for back pain?
A: While back pain can develop in patients of any age, the primary risk factors include being middle-aged or older, have poor fitness or a poor diet, being male, having a family history of back pain, being pregnant, doing a job that requires heavy lifting or long periods of sitting, and smoking.
Contact a Back Pain Specialist
Are you tired of living with back pain? You don’t have to suffer any longer. Dr. Bae is a renowned Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon and expert in helping his patients overcome back pain. Call today at (888) 309-2848 to set up your consultation.
Next, read about neck pain.