The most common pain complaint in the U.S. is back pain. The majority of adults suffer from it to some degree, and in some cases, the back pain can be debilitating. Back pain, along with a host of other types of pain, has been driving the prescription of opioids for pain management, but there are alternatives available. However, along with pain management, it’s critical to uncover the source of the pain. We also invite you to learn more about Dr. Nikesh Seth and other providers including Dr. Anne-Marie Cosijns, Dr. Lisa Sparks, Dr. Michael Givens, and our team of Nurse Practitioners.
The spine has three sections: cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back), and lumbar (lower back). By far, lumbar pain is the most common. But what causes it? Degenerative disc disease is a very common ailment that affects most adults and some children to some degree. It occurs when a disc in the back is compromised. Genetics factor into degenerative disc disease to some extent, but the full cause involves numerous sources. Wear and tear on the back is normal, especially in a society where slouching is the common posture. Sometimes lumbar degenerative disc disease is caused by trauma, like an accident or weight lifting. Usually, lumbar degenerative disc disease starts small and grows over time.
The degree of degeneration will help inform treatment, as will the amount of pain. Surgery is rarely the best path for most sufferers of lower back pain. However, since it can be a chronic condition, it’s important to consider alternatives to medication management. Spinal cord stimulation and epidural steroid injections are two safe, non-addictive choices.
The spine, particularly the lumbar region, has a big job. It’s involved in almost every type of movement of the back and carries a lot of stress. The discs in the back don’t have a blood supply, which means they can’t repair themselves when injured. What might be a minor or even unnoticeable trauma somewhere else in the body (somewhere with blood supply) can be a big deal in the lumbar discs. These traumas can also kick-start “degenerative cascades” which begin or speed up disc degeneration.
Degenerative disc disease might sound like a major issue, but it’s very common. Some patients don’t report any pain at all. Of course, this doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be treated to prevent unnecessary future wear and tear. Call Integrated Pain Consultants today at 480-626-2552 and start treating your lumbar back pain today.