Back and Neck Pain

What Is Back and Neck Pain?

Back and neck pain is common among people of all ages. Overuse of muscles and repetitive actions can cause and prolong back and neck pain. It’s important to distinguish whether it is temporary back and neck pain or potentially something more serious. If you are concerned your back and neck pain is out of the ordinary, be sure to ask your doctor about it.

Causes of Back and Neck Pain

The complexity of the spine and neck coupled with the number of muscles and tendons in the back can make finding the cause of pain difficult. Back and neck pain can be caused by:

  • Infection
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Muscle tension or spasm
  • Sprain or strain
  • Ligament or muscle tears
  • Injuries or conditions in other areas of the body
  • Overuse

Less common causes of neck and back pain include:

  • Degeneration of vertebrae, often brought on by stress on the muscles and ligaments that support the spine or the effects of aging
  • Obesity
  • Protruding or herniated (slipped) disc, which may be pinching a nerve, such as the sciatic nerve
  • Degenerative disc disease – Wear-and-tear on the spinal discs that causes chronic lower back pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Systematic problems – Diseases, tumors, bone spurs or cysts can cause problems with the joints, muscles or nerve roots in the neck and back

Types of Back and Neck pain

There are two types of back and neck pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain typically lasts for a short amount of time, usually 4 to 6 weeks. Chronic pain lasts for longer, usually more than 3 to 6 months.

Back and neck pain can come in many forms, including:

  • Herniated disk
  • Pinched nerve
  • Nerve pain
  • Neuropathy
  • Bulging discs
  • Synovial cyst (common in the lumbar spine)
  • Arthritic cysts that are filled around certain joints in the back
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal deformities, such as spina bifida
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Kyphosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Scheuermann’s kyphosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal cord cancer
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Arthritis
  • Spinal tumors
  • Spine trauma

Symptoms of Back and Neck Pain

Symptoms can differ depending on the condition and whether it affects the nervous system or muscles. Symptoms related to neck and back pain may include:

  • Dull, sharp or burning pain in the back or neck that can either be isolated to one area or spread over a large area
  • Leg pain, numbness or tingling
  • Sharp radiating or shooting pain in the lower back that moves down the buttocks and down into the leg
  • Aches and stiffness that occurs anywhere along the spine, especially when sitting for extended periods of time
  • Arm numbness or tingling
  • Headaches
  • Shooting pain or dull aches in the neck

Testing and Diagnosing Back and Neck Pain

No matter how much pain you may be in, it’s important to take the steps to determine an accurate diagnosis. Spine diagnostic testing can help pinpoint the condition or disorder which will determine the best treatment option for you and your needs.

Learn more about spine testing and diagnosis to get you on the path to back and neck pain relief

Back and Neck Pain Treatment

Once your specialist has determined a diagnosis for your condition, our team will discuss your treatment options with you, from non-surgical to surgical options. The team of multidisciplinary experts will collaborate on a treatment solution to ensure your condition is looked at with a comprehensive approach. At Banner Health, we aim to take the most conservative route of treatment first. We are here to ensure you are supported and cared for throughout this journey.

Learn more about non-surgical and surgical treatment options for your spine