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Facts about back pain

Back pain is a very common ailment. Most commonly, this pain results from strain of the muscles which support the spine. This type of pain is best treated with rest and heating pads. Occasionally, however, there is damage to the spine itself. Arthritis is the most frequent cause of spine problems. One of the ways arthritis can cause pain is by narrowing the small openings through which the spinal nerves exit from the spine. This causes pain by directly putting pressure on the spinal nerves.

Another cause of back pain is damage to one of the intervertebral disks. A ruptured disk occurs when severe pressure forces the jelly-like core of the disk out through the tough disk capsule. A slipped disk occurs when severe forces move the disk out of its normal location. Disk injuries are serious, and they typically require surgical treatment to fix.

Sciatica is a general term for back pain that extends down into the buttock and leg, along the course of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica usually results from pressure on the lumbar and sacral nerve roots that exit the spine to form the sciatic nerve. Arthritis and disk damage are just two of many causes of sciatica.

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