The neck and spine come together to create an incredible, complex communication highway for your body. This bundle of nerves attaches directly to the brain, turning your thoughts and neurological commands into the nearly endless variety of motions you complete every day.
Caring for and protecting this system is an essential part of living a full, healthy lifestyle. This requires knowledge, proactive treatment, and listening closely to any warning signs that your body is wisely trying to convey.
Degenerative Disc Disease
- A Common Cause of Lower Back and Neck Pain
A progressively weakening disc in your spine will certainly cause pain, often radiating out from a specific point in your back or neck. Numbness and weakness also can be a common indicator. It is important to realize that as menacing as the name of this degenerative issue sounds, you can work with your orthopedic care provider to manage the pain and symptoms. This can include physical exercises and motion modification, medication, rehabilitation, and more.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
- Increased neck or back pain that can be linked to specific motions and activities
- A persistent baseline level of pain that is always present (the intensity can vary case to case)
- Can be aggravated by prolonged sitting or standing
- Running or walking may not cause excessive pain, but twisting or lifting will
- Periodic bouts of elevated pain levels, sometimes extremely intense
Symptoms and Treatment for a Herniated Disc
A herniated, or slipped, disc is another common spinal ailment, and can be the result of wear/strain, or a degenerative issue.
The injury occurs when the softer center of the disc is forced out through its exterior wall. Consequently, the surrounding nerves are aggravated, and this can cause pain and numbness in the area of your body impacted by those specific nerves. If the herniated disc is in your lower back, for example, you often will feel the effect in an arm or leg.
If you experience pain or numbness radiating in an extremity, or persistent pain, it is certainly time to contact your orthopedic care professional. This is the very best way to diagnose your particular pain points and put together a plan for care, treatment, and management.
Very similar to a herniated disc, a bulging disc occurs when this cushion between the vertebrae becomes misshapen.
What symptoms should you watch out for?
Pinpointing where you experience the symptoms listed above can help your orthopedic care provider identify the bulging disc’s location.
Arthritis in Your Back and Neck
Neck and spinal arthritis occurs when the cartilage cushion between the joints and discs within the neck and lower back breaks down. Most common in older people, this is the culprit behind such symptoms as:
- Stiffness throughout the neck and lower back
- Weakness and/or pain in the arms and legs because of compressed nerves
It is also important to note that you can develop osteoarthritis as a younger person as well, especially if you have experienced a traumatic injury or have a history of arthritis in your family. It is essential that early symptoms are taken seriously and never ignored. Movement modification and targeted exercise/stretching can alleviate symptoms and help you maintain a high quality of life.
What Causes Lower Back Pain, and What Can You Do About It?
“Pain in your lower back” may seem like a very general symptom, but with the help of your orthopedic professional it can be traced back to its specific cause. As we touched on above, the location of the pain in your back and the symptoms it aggravates are sending a clear message that your care provider can decipher.
Your age also can help determine the most likely cause of the pain. Be prepared to talk with your doctor about your activity level, hobbies, exercise routine, career, and what symptoms beyond general back pain you may be experiencing. These are all clues that lead to correct diagnosis, treatment, and a plan for proactive management of pain and damage.
Do You Need Urgent Care in Lufkin?
We know that orthopedic injuries can’t be scheduled (who would want to anyway?). The medical team here at Dedicated Orthopedic Center Urgent Care is ready to meet your Lufkin orthopedic urgent care needs 7 days a week. No appointment is needed; we are standing by to provide immediate, gold-star care for your musculoskeletal injury.