Types of Back Pain
Sciatica refers to pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. It is caused by injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve and is a symptom, not a medical condition. Typically you experience sciatica when you have a herniated, slipped, or bulging disc, stenosis, or a “pinched” nerve along your spine.
Stenosis is a Greek term meaning “narrowing or constricting space”. This occurs in the spinal column where the spinal cord, nerve roots and vertebrae are located. Stenosis is a condition where the openings in the spine get smaller and pinch your spinal cord or spinal nerves. It can occur anywhere in the spine; however, 2 most common areas stenosis occurs are in the neck a low back. It’s more common in the lumbar, but tends to be a bigger problem when it’s in the cervical.
A herniated disc occurs when an intervertebral disc degenerates and weakens enough to rip open, occasionally allowing inner core disc material to leak into the spinal column. Herniated disc symptoms vary for each patient, but most commonly occurs in the leg. You may feel a burning sensation in one leg, prolonged or intermittent pain, aggravation from standing, bending or twisting your spine, or increased pain when coughing or sneezing.
Bulging discs tend to be the most common cause of back pain. There are several different stages of breakdown within the discs of the spine and the bulging disc is normally the first phase of break down. Your discs are very much like jelly donuts. The outer portion of the disc is thick cartilaginous material, we call this the annulus. The inner portion of the disc is a jelly like material. The key to a healthy disc is to make sure you have healthy jelly. When you have a bulging disc, the annulus starts to break down because of micro tears. The jelly starts to push out the fibers where the weakness is present, resulting in a bulging disc. The nucleus is healthy but the annulus is weak. Another common cause is the nucleus dries out causing the annulus to bulge out. In this case your annulus is healthy, but you don’t have a healthy nucleus.