Joint and back pain can have lots of causes, including diseases like arthritis, injuries from slip-and-fall accidents, car accidents, and lifestyle issues like stress and strain due to overuse or repetitive motions. Some back pain can be caused by poor posture, osteoporosis, obesity, chronic stress, or even frequent use of a cell phone or laptop. Anatomical issues can also play a role in joint and back pain. Because so many possible factors can contribute to back and joint discomfort, the first step in treatment is having a comprehensive exam to determine the underlying causes.
Sciatica is a very common type of back pain that occurs when the sciatic nerve – a very long nerve that extends from the lower back down each leg – becomes irritated where it exits the spine. Irritation can cause symptoms like dull aches in the buttocks, hips or legs, numbness or tingling, or sharp, electrical-like pains. Often, symptoms are worse when lying down or sitting. Sciatica is usually caused by a herniated disc in the lower back. When the disc moves out of its normal position between the bones of the spine, it can press on the sciatic nerve, resulting in irritation. Sometimes a disc may rupture, releasing a gel-like material that can cause additional irritation and inflammation. Herniated discs can be caused by direct injury or from indirect forces like poor posture or heavy lifting. Mild cases of sciatica may resolve on their own, but more severe or persistent cases may require injections to relieve pain and inflammation.
Arthritis is a disease that causes the joint surfaces to break down. There are two primary types of arthritis:
Arthritis causes pain, joint stiffness and immobility, and it can affect any joint, including the joints of the back. Symptoms can be managed with proper medical care.
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