Spine Pain: Causes, Signs, Symptoms And Treatments

By Alley Benton
Updated February 2, 2017
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Spine Pain: Causes, Signs, Symptoms And TreatmentsIt is quite common for people to experience spine pain. In fact, most cases of neck pain and lower back pain are actually forms of spine pain. However, spine pain as a whole is still poorly researched and understood. One of the reasons for this is that, if people experience pain of the spine, it tends to be either due to a very serious medical condition, or due to no reason whatsoever. This makes it too vast to properly study.

Understanding Spine Pain Signs and Symptoms:

The most common spine pain signs and symptoms depend on what the underlying cause is. In most cases, there is no serious problem present. However, there are some red flags to be aware of that would point to someone needing more significant medical investigation. Red flags include:

  • Having recently experienced violent trauma.
  • Having recently experienced minor trauma and having osteoporosis.
  • Experiencing serious spine pain before being 20 years old, or after turning 50.
  • Having a history of lengthy corticosteroid use, immunosuppression, HIV, drug abuse, or cancer.
  • Having constitutional symptoms.
  • Having a recent bacterial infection.
  • Experiencing severe, progressive, constant pain that doesn't seem to get better even after treatment.
  • Having structural deformities.
  • Having a progressive neurological condition that affects the lower extremities.

Spine Pain and Disc Prolapses:

Spine pain signs and symptoms can point to a intervertebral disc prolapse, which is a serious condition. This is characterized by:

  • Radicular pain to the relevant dermatome associated with localized pain of the spine itself.
  • Sensory disturbances which usually point to compression of the spinal cord.
  • Generalized weakness, although this usually doesn't appear until there has been some progression of the condition itself. If the weakness is in the lower extremities, it may be caused by compression of the spinal cord.
  • Loss of control of bladder and bowel, which could point to a medical emergency, including myelopathy, or spinal cord compression.

Other Problems:

Sometimes, pain of the spine is actually symptomatic of something completely different. This may be:

  • Tumors or pancoast tumor of the lung, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, stomach, or esophagus.
  • Spinal dysfunction that is affecting the lumbar or the cervical spine.

Spine Pain Diagnosis:

If you experience spine pain and any of the red flags, it is important to seek medical advice. A physician will be able to perform a physical examination while also taking your medical history, in order to determine what the problem is. It is important to do this, as spine pain can lead to some serious complications, not in the least a significant is reduction in quality of life.

Spine Pain Treatment:

Treatment for spine pain tends to be:

1.) Rest, as most cases do go away on their own.

2.) Treating any underlying health condition that is causing the spinal pain.

3.) Imaging guided intra-articular injections, if it comes from facet joint pathology.

4.) Surgery, although this is only offered in extreme cases.

Spine Pain Prognosis:

The prognosis can vary greatly depending on the cause of the pain and how it is treated. Most of the time, however, it is positive.

* Disclaimer:
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.