Low Back Pain
The five vertebrae in your lower back, or lumbar spine, are larger than in the rest of your spine in order to support the weight of your upper body. They also must withstand powerful forces from the lower back muscles such as lifting, bending, and twisting activities.
Low Back Pain Care in Central Maryland
That is why low back pain is so common. The muscles, ligaments, nerves, and spine can be affected by poor posture during movements, as well as age-related “wear and tear.” In addition, degenerative diseases such as spondylosis (osteoarthritis of the spine) can cause spinal structures to break down and place pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. Nerve pressure in the lumbar spine can cause symptoms to spread to the buttocks, legs, and feet.
For example, if the sciatic nerve is compressed or inflamed, it can cause sciatica, a painful condition that sends sharp pain from the lower back through the leg, all the way down to the foot.
Degenerative disc disease can also cause low back pain. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis cause discs and vertebrae to deteriorate. When this happens, the spine can become structurally unstable and unable to tolerate stress.
Degenerative disc disease can also lead to a herniated disc, which occurs when the outer disc layer ruptures and the inner content comes out of the disc, causing pressure on the nerve tissue, as well as irritation and swelling.
In addition, conditions such as osteoporosis, spondylolisthesis, and spondylosis can directly affect the integrity of the vertebrae. Osteoporosis causes more bone calcium to be absorbed than replaced, which contributes to vertebral compression fractures. Spondylolisthesis results when a weakened vertebra slips out of alignment, while spondylosis occurs when osteoarthritis or a fracture causes disc degeneration and the overgrowth of bone, resulting in stiff and painful joints.
Treatment for low back pain depends on its cause, severity, and duration. Most symptoms are treatable with pain medications, facet blocks, epidurals, short periods of rest, and exercise. Also, physical therapy can help reduce pain and muscle spasms.
For more severe cases, there are various surgical treatments including laminectomy for spinal stenosis or sciatica caused by a disc herniation; discectomy to remove part of a disc or bone fragments putting pressure on the spinal cord or nerves; and spinal fusion, a type of surgery used for degenerative disc disease that involves fusing two vertebrae after removing a degenerative or herniated disc.
Low Back Pain Treatment in Columbia, Catonsville, and Maryland
At The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, our board-certified spine specialists can determine the exact cause of your low back pain and treat your symptoms appropriately. Call us today at (410) 644-1880 to schedule a consultation or use our online form.