80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime. Neck pain is almost as prevalent. With physical therapy intervention, most patients will be able to avoid more aggressive interventions such as surgery.
Symptoms may include:
- Radiating Pain
- Tingling, numbness, weakness
- Dizziness, vertigo, visual disturbances
- Walking Difficulties
- Balance issues
- Bowel/bladder control issues
- Fever or chills
Commonly, back and neck pain is aggravated by our day-to-day postural habits. Brief periods of bad posture will be forgiven by the body, but making bad posture a habit may leave you prone to future injuries, limiting your range of motion and your ability to do things like reach overhead, squat, bend, and lift. Physical therapy will help you learn to correct your posture and educate you as to what normal posture entails.
Your physical therapist will help you relieve your neck and back pain and restore movement. Whether you have had surgery or not, physical therapy is key to your healthy recovery. Physical therapy includes both passive and active treatments. Passive treatments help to relax you and your body. They also prepare your body for therapeutic exercise and movement training, which is the active part of physical therapy.
Some typical ailments with symptoms resulting in back and neck pain are included below. We have found success in treating patients with these painful issues. We can help diagnose and treat your back and neck pain; to discuss or schedule an appointment, please contact us via email or by calling (303) 536-1949.
A muscle strain occurs when muscle fibers in the back tighten involuntarily. Inflammation of spinal structures may also result in muscle spasms. Both of these scenarios typically occur when the back muscles have been pushed beyond their limits.
Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more prone to fractures and bone breakage. The pain and discomfort brought on by osteoporosis can impair a person’s ability to walk unassisted, may cause a loss in height, prolonged disability or deformity. Because osteoporosis does not have any clear symptoms, it’s crucial persons over the age of 50 receive a bone density scan to uncover the disease in its infancy.
Whiplash is an injury brought on by a sudden jerk of the neck such as that which might occur during an automobile accident. It typically causes muscle strain and stiffness, resulting in neck pain.
Arthritis of the Facet Joint or Osteoarthritis
Facet joint syndrome is pain at the joint between two vertebrae in your spine. Arthritis of the facet joint develops slowly over a long period of time. Fractures, torn ligaments and disc degeneration can all cause abnormal movement and alignment placing extra stress on the facet joint. This causes the articular cartilage (the tissue that covers the ends of bones that come together to form joints) to wear away, exposing the bone. With bone now rubbing directly against bone, the joint will eventually become arthritic, causing pain and swelling.
Bone Spur or Osteophyte
A bone spur is a bony growth formed around the front of a vertebrae, generally in response to pressure, rubbing or stress that continues over a long period of time. Bone spurs only cause pain if they cut through to nerve roots. Many individuals have a bone spur but do not carry any symptoms.
Herniated discs may occur spontaneously through an injury or heavy strain, or as a preexisting condition. The disc, which absorbs shock, located within the area between your spine vertebrae, may rupture and place pressure on the nerves or spinal cord. A bulging disc describes a disc which is protruding, but to a lesser degree then a herniated disc. The important thing to note here is many individuals have a herniated disc but do not carry any symptoms. In fact the majority of these cases require no treatment and even fewer require surgery.
Sacroiliac Joint Disease
Sacroiliac disease typically results from multiple causes including inflammation, degeneration, infection, or trauma around or in the sacroiliac joint.
Degenerative Disc Disease
A degenerative disc can occur through an injury, or simple wear and tear on the spine which comes with age. Degenerative discs are often seen in the general population.
A pinched nerve causes shooting pain radiating down the arm or leg. This pain can be the result of nerves being impinged by degenerative disc, bulging or herniated disc, bone spur, or arthritis of the facet joint.
Curvature of the Spine
Scoliosis is a condition that causes a complex curvature of the spine. Though its cause is unknown, it can occur as the result of a separate condition such as cerebral palsy or spinal muscular atrophy.
Kyphosis and lordosis are normal curvatures of the spine. Excessive kyphosis can occur when the spine is bent forward creating a noticeable curve in the upper back, typically the result of years of poor posture or osteoporosis. This type of kyphosis may cause mild to severe back pain, stiffness and fatigue. Excessive lordosis, also know as swayback, occurs when the spine is bent in an inward curve at the lower back. It primarily affects the lumbar spine, creating an exaggerated posture which protrudes the head forward and the buttocks backward. Both of these conditions do not cause pain directly, but may eventually cause vertebrae to impinge on surrounding nerves, resulting in pain.
Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs due to a narrowing of the spinal canal. This causes pinching on the nerves, which leads to persistent pain in the low back, buttocks and can also shoot downward into the legs. Those suffering from spinal stenosis may realize a decrease in physical activity or a lack of feeling in the lower extremities when walking.
Spinal Cord Tumors
Spinal tumors may arise in any area of the spinal cord. They are extremely rare and, in the early stages, are usually painless. As they grow larger they may potentially cause numbness and pain.
Spondylolysis / Spondylolisthesis / Spondylosis
Spondylolysis is a term used to describe a stress fracture or defect in the vertebrae that make up the spinal column. If the stress fracture weakens so much that the vertebrae is unable to maintain its position, it may slip out of place pressing on nerves and causing pain. This condition is most commonly found in young athletes involved in sports that require repeated hyperextension of the lower back. It can also affect older adults who experience a degeneration in the disc and the facet joints, which can allow slippage.
Sciatica or Radiculopathy
Sciatica is a symptom of a problem along the sciatic nerve. A herniated disc or spinal stenosis, for instance, are typical disorders that can cause sciatica, resulting in pain, weakness and numbness down the back of the leg.
Tailbone Pain or Coccygeal Pain
Coccygeal pain refers to pain originating from the coccyx, located at the base of the spine. Typically, this type of pain is caused by an injury, such as falling and hitting the tailbone, or excessive sitting.