What Causes Back Pain?

As a physician who has seen thousands of patients with back pain, there are many causes.  These include disc problems where the disc is painful or can be damaged causing a bulge or herniation.  Back pain can also be caused by a disc placing pressure on a nerve.  If this is the case, newer stem cell procedures can repair the disc bulge.  Back pain can also be caused by irritated or damaged facet joints.  Yet another cause of back pain is the SI or sacroliliac joint.  Muscles and ligaments being overloaded or injured can also lead to significant back pain.  Back pain can also be due to occult problems like vertebral compression fractures, cancer, a balooning out of the aorta, etc…  

The most important part of a back pain work-up is identifying a specific strutcure that is causing the pain.  Just throwing narcotics or other medications at the problem is extremely counter-productive.  Too often back surgery is the conclusion when the cause of back pain goes undiagnosed.  This can cause significant complications.

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