Severe Back Pain
Severe back pain may be the result of a serious degenerative condition, or it may simply be the result of a muscle strain that will get better on its own in a matter of days. Often the severity of back pain symptoms does directly relate to the severity of the injury, especially with muscular conditions such as back spasms. Back spasms, which are usually caused by the back muscles being overstressed or overstretched, are one of the most common causes of emergency room visits. Back spasms, which results in the muscle seizing up, may cause crippling immobility, and severe back pain. Other sources of back pain may be caused by constriction or compression of the spinal nerves, either within the spinal cord itself, or in the region of the spine where the nerves branch off of the spinal cord. The spinal nerves within the spinal cord are likely to be compressed due to spinal stenosis, and the spinal nerve roots are more likely to be compressed due to spinal disc herniation or a bulging disc. Let's take a look at some other conditions that may cause severe back pain.
Mechanical Problems: A mechanical problem involves an increase in back pain or discomfort when using certain postures, movements, or positions. Mechanical problems may occur when changing positions or sustaining certain postures irritates the bones, discs, or other soft tissues of the spine, exacerbating pain symptoms. When people have disc herniations or degenerated discs, these degenerative changes to the soft tissues that separate the vertebral bones (spinal bones) may cause pain in a few different ways. As the discs deteriorate, they begin to shrink in height, causing them to lose their cushioning ability. This may lead to contact between the vertebral bones when the back is stressed. This contact between the vertebral bones may result in pain and inflammation. The facet joints may also become worn down behind the vertebral bodies, which may also cause pain and inflammation. Other mechanical causes of back pain include ruptured discs and muscle tension.
Injuries: The soft tissues and joints of the back are very strong, and are generally resistant to tearing in all but the most violent accidents or collisions. The back muscles, though are particularly sensitive to becoming overstretched and repetitive stress, and may go into spasms either to protect themselves or injured soft tissues. Back spasms are sustained periods of muscle contraction, which occur in response to muscles being overstretched. Other spinal injuries that occur far less often include fractures. Fractures may occur due to falls or accidents, or they may occur due to changes in bone density. Fractures of the vertebral bones associated with bone density loss are usually compression fractures. Compression fractures usually involve a global collapse throughout the weight bearing portion of the bone, rather than just one or two clean breaks in one area. With compression fractures, the vertebral bodies buckle, or collapse in on themselves. Compression factures are usually the result of osteoporosis, or other medical condition that causes the spinal bones to become porous and weak.
Tumors and Infections: Back pain may be a symptom of a tumor that grown within the spine, or within the cavity that the spine occupies. Tumors may also occur due to infection, which may involve the migration of a pathogen from another part of the body that lodges itself in the spine. Spinal infections may also be due to back pain treatments such as epidural steroid injections or back surgery. Severe back pain may occur due to osteomyelitis, which is an infection of the vertebral bone.