The spine is extremely sensitive and can be prone to a variety of conditions. It’s also possible for other pain in the body, such as neck aches and headaches, to culminate from issues in the back. The spine connects everything together and, when working efficiently, is an integral part of the body. When issues arise, however, these can cause a lot of pain and often be debilitating, or even life-changing.
Here are the most common types of issues related to the spine that you should be aware of.
- Injury to the Spine
This is a very serious injury and is most often caused by a severe impact, such as a traffic collision. A serious spinal injury can have devasting long-term effects, including total paralysis in the worst cases. Spinal cord injuries refer to any damage suffered to either the spinal column itself, the discs, the vertebrae, or the ligaments of the back.
- Torn Muscle or Ligament
This is very common, due to the fact that it can be done so easily through everyday movement. Strains and tears can occur through the improper lifting of items (which is why health and safety training regarding proper lifting procedures in the workplace is so important), poor posture, or sudden, twisting movements.
It’s also possible to develop strained or torn muscles and ligaments over time through repetitive strain and general wear and tear. To tackle this, ensure that you always maintain good posture and understand how to lift heavy items correctly.
- A Herniated Disc
There are 23 discs that make up the spine. Problems with the discs of the back, even if it’s just one, can cause chronic pain in an individual. A herniated disc means that the disc has been pushed out of its natural place into the spinal canal. It may also be that the slipped disc is pushing on a nerve in the back, which can cause further pain or other painful sensations elsewhere in the body, such as with people experiencing sciatica.
Symptoms of a herniated disc include:
- Numbness or a tingling sensation
- Pain in the body, depending on where the herniated disc is located. If it is in the lower back, then the pain will most likely be felt in the buttocks or legs. If the herniated disc is towards the top of the spine, the pain may be in the neck or the arms.
- Weakness in the back, such as losing the ability to carry or lift things
- Lack of coordination, such as losing balance easily
This condition stems from the overall wear and tear of the spinal joints and discs, which means it’s mostly common with old age. Osteoarthritis causes pain and instability, along with inflammation of the joints. It can happen in one specific area, or more than one area along the spinal column. Individuals experiencing osteoarthritis will feel certain stiffness in their back, too, and it may be that symptoms are intermittent and not present all of the time.