To understand what causes back pain, we first need to talk about the anatomy of the spine. Typically we can break down the spine into four main pain generators or four structures that are causing your symptoms.
The first structure to discuss is the joints of the spine which is where we get all the movement. If you're noticing that a movement is stiff, you're not able to go as far or if there is pain with certain movements, the joints could be the culprit for your symptoms.
Secondly, we are going to talk about the discs in the spine. The discs are our shock absorbers and they sit in between each vertebra of the spine. Since they sit between the vertebra, they are under constant compression. Whether it's repetitive compression, such as bending and lifting, or prolonged compression such as sitting and rounding out our lower back, those discs can become symptomatic and bothersome.
Third, we have the nerve roots of the spine, which are nerves that attach to the spinal cord. They exit out the spine through canals and supply the muscles, organs, and other things in our body. When we have nerve-type pains, usually we will experience numbness, tingling, or burning. Often times those nerve-type symptoms can be found in our extremities. In the case of the lower back, sometimes we'll feel those symptoms going down our leg. That's a good indicator that that nerve might be irritated.
Lastly, the fourth pain generator is the musculature. The muscles insert and attach all throughout the spine are superficial layers of protection. Oftentimes, muscles can become very tight if they're overused or if they're trying to protect the structures of the spine, or if we have a weaker core, those muscles can be compromised as well.
Four main pain generators of the spine:
At our office here, we test out those structures and determine what might be promoting your symptoms in order to give you the best treatment and exercises to get feeling better the quickest.