Backache is known almost to everyone. Some people face it in youth, other – much later. Some people perceive the pain as some misunderstanding that disturbs regular life. Others live with this daily problem that needs constant control.
Up to 70% of clinics’ visitors come with complaints to backache. Many people waste time hoping that it will pass. This happens to a small number of people, and in most cases people apply to clinic with much more serious problems and pains.
On this site, we tried to gather maximum of useful information on different diseases that cause backache. We can say that backache is caused mostly by spine problems. Most often a man can’t understand on his own what is the reason for pain, and attempts to relieve it bring just to temporal alleviation and waste of time.
In most cases spine diseases are caused by osteochondrosis. Treatment of diseases caused by it is always efficient if the disease was detected on early stage. In such case it is possible to stop its progression and cure the patient completely. But first let’s try to make out why the spine is so vulnerable?
Spine anatomy and functions
Human spine is a so-called body axis. That’s why it has to be rather strong but flexible, to ensure a man the necessary degree of motional freedom. The spine is a tubular formation with spinal cord, nervous root and blood vessels inside it. Spine column serves as a unique case that provides maximum protection to its contents.
Spine’s functionality is defined by its structure. It consists of a number of complex bony formations (vertebrae). Vertebrae are placed one above the other and adjacent vertebrae are always conjugate between themselves. Intervertebral disks are elastic chondral formations placed between vertebrae. Facet joints are also placed between vertebrae’s articular processes. There are pair intervertebral foramens between adjacent vertebral bodies, their articular processes and arches. Nervous roots and blood vessels pass right through them.
Every vertebra has 3 points of support – the intervertebral disk and a pair of facet joints. In the same way every disk provides 3 points of support to the vertebra above it. The hardest load falls right on these 3 points, that’s why they are the most vulnerable places of a vertebra.
Most often the problems show in lumbar and cervical spine as they are the most movable parts and undergo the hardest load.
Progress of this disease may be caused by excessive loads on vertebral column or disbolism. This disease is based on change of intervertebral disk nature or the nucleus pulpous that is situated in the center of intervertebral disk and is a shock-absorber. In the result of running alterations the nucleus loses its elasticity, and load to fibrous ring that holds the nucleus in its natural position increases. Excessive load leads the intervertebral disk to becoming thin and gradually coming out of the bounds of space between vertebrae. Such protrusion to the side of spinal canal is especially dangerous as leads to irritation of posterior longitudinal ligament, full of nociceptors.
Irritation of this ligament and infringement of nervous roots leads to strong pain in the area of affected region. Pain is accompanied by reflex muscle tension and restrain of spine movement in the region.
Most often the progression of such process brings to straightening of vertebra’s physiological curves that results in lowering of its shock-absorbing function.
Treatment of spine osteochondrosis usually is not complicated, but earlier the disease was diagnosed and treatment started, higher are the chances to full recovery.
Osteochondrosis of lumbar spine happens most often, osteochondrosis of cervical spine – far more rarely, treatment of these diseases is well elaborated and surgery is seldom required.
Osteochondrosis is the reason of many other spine diseases.
For example, spine osteophytes may appear in the result of degenerative processes, you just cannot delay their treatment as they may block vertebrae. In such a situation spine mobility rather decreases. With the course of time, the disease may transform to chronic radiculitis.
Spinal hernia is the most widespread and one of the gravest diseases that arise as the result of osteochondrosis. It arises when weak fibrous ring doesn’t stand pression and disk nucleus comes out of its bounds. The formed hernia presses on nerve endings that surround it, leading to heavy pain syndrome.
Hernia, as well as osteochondrosis, most often shows in cervical and lumbar spine. At diagnosis “spinal hernia” symptoms and treatment are strictly individual. Often symptoms may be “diffused”, the disease may influence the functioning of other viscera.
The distinctive feature of this disease is very strong pain. Every diseased applies to a doctor not because of realizing the consequences in case of not treating hernia, but just because of intolerable pain.
When hernia is formed in cervical vertebrae, symptoms may be the most unexpected. For example, arterial pressure surges, headache and vertigo may arise. If pain syndrome does not show or pain is too weak, a man may misunderstand the reasons.
Cervical region is very vulnerable, right here the vertebral canal is very thin, that’s why even a small hernia may cause to serious damage, right up to a stroke or paralysis. At diagnosis “cervical vertebrae hernia” treatment should be held immediately.
Lumbar spine hernia is the most widespread and extremely painful, it can really immobilize a man. Pain at this disease is very intensive, it may extend to a leg. In this case neurologic disorders happen – numbness arises, reflexes disappear (ankle reflex and knee reflex), sensitivity is disturbed. In the most complex cases disorders in functioning of pelvic organs may happen.
But even at very hard pains, treatment of lumbar spine hernia is rather easy, surgery is required very rarely, and the disease goes away in a few weeks.
Despite the gravity of this disease, the first stage is always treatment of spinal hernia without surgery:
- Anesthetic and anti-inflammatory drugs and bed rest for several days.
- When pain eases, application of different physiotherapy methods, massages and exercises starts.
- The key moment in treating any hernia is curative gymnastics that helps to reestablish normal state of ligamentous apparatus and pectoral muscle sling. Due to this, disease progression and recurrence are prevented.
Treating the spinal hernia with laser is getting more and more popular. Deep down, it’s just a marketing ploy. People interpret such a method as something extremely technological and effective, but the efficiency of this method is rather controversial.
Various spinal curvatures are a single topic. Osteochondrosis of thoracic spine that has never been treated may become the reason of cyphosis or scoliosis. But in most cases these diseases arise when body growths actively without any evident reason. Such a disease may also develop as the result of innate vertebrae deformations, metabolic imbalance, after injuries and amputations.
Diseases that happen most often:
- slouch (cyphosis) – in this case spine is hardly incurved backwards;
- lordosis – the spine is incurved forward;
- scoliosis – lateral deviation;
- kyphoscoliosis – combination of scoliosis and cyphosis.
Usually the treatment of any spinal curvature is held by special remedial gymnastics. A special corset is used only at progressive form of the disease. Surgery is applied only when conservative treating doesn’t bring the wished result.
Hemangioma is a benign tumor formed of blood vessels. Mechanism of such formations arising and growing is still unknown, but it was established that a hemangioma does not contain tumor cells.
Usually this disease runs with no symptoms and is revealed accidentally during an examination. Some symptomatology is present just in 1% of cases.
At diagnosis “vertebrae hemangioma” treatment is necessary just in case when the new growth presses on nerve endings. Usually hemangioma extraction is performed surgically.
Cervical vertebrae instability
Cervical spine needs to provide stability, protecting a man from deformations at physical activity and pain. At the same time this region should be rather flexible, providing the man with a possibility to perform all the necessary movements. Distortion of this balance to the side of excessive mobility leads to cervical vertebrae instability.
Dislocation of vertebrae does not mean the presence of a disease, it may run with no pain. But at instability, such dislocation is almost always accompanied by pain syndrome.
Treatment of cervical vertebrae instability is not very complex. In this case it is strongly recommended to wear a special neck orthosis that fixes vertebrae in a definite way. As for the rest, this disease is successfully treated with conservative method including massage, manual therapy, osteopathy and special physiotherapy exercises.
Vertebra fracture is possible at severe spinal injuries. Most always fractures show as compression of a vertebra called compression fracture. As the result of such a fracture, height of the vertebra in its anterior part decreases.
When a spinal compression fracture happens (in lumbar or thoracic spine), treatment is always performed in hospital. Usually at such problem absolute rest is prescribed. Plaster is applied to provide vertebrae full immobility. If the fracture caused formation of splinters, it will be necessary to remove them surgically. It takes about 2-3 months to let vertebrae knit together.
Note that during the time of wearing plaster, back muscles weaken a lot, this may cause protrusions and herniated disks.
After the fractured vertebra knitted, it is necessary to undergo a course of rehabilitation that includes massages, muscle toning treatment and, maybe, therapeutic exercises.
So, there may be many reasons of banal backache. Here are mostly mentioned spinal diseases, but there are a number of viscera diseases that may cause backache. Not always the symptoms are as unambiguous as we would like them to be.
On our site, we tried to tell about all the diseases that may be the reason of causing such pain, having created a rather detailed guide. It may be used for autodiagnostics. However, you should not diagnose without assistance, this is the job of a qualified physician. But we will help you to get a general idea on a disease and understand why some treatment mode is advised.