Do you have some mysterious aches and pains in your upper body? How about the feeling ofpins and needles in your legs? You may have a thoracic herniated disc. A herniated (bulging), disc in the spinal area between the neck and the lower rib cage (the thoracic area) can bring about a whole host of seemingly unrelated symptoms. You don’t have to have been in an accident recently to have a herniated disc, nor do you necessarily have back pain at first. If you have any of these symptoms (or a combination) see your physician right away for diagnosis:
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A common cause of neck pain, especially in older patients, is cervical stenosis or stenosis in the neck. Stenosis in the neck can be very painful and can affect you ability to do everyday activities. This pain is caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck and upper part of the spine putting pressure on the spinal cord. Most of the time it can be caused by degenerative changes in the spine, like a bulging disc or herniated disc. Most cervical stenosis in patients over the age of 50 years old is a result of aging and wear and tear of the spine. There are also many cases of cervical stenosis where the patient has a history of injury to the neck. The injury could happen months or years before you even see stenosis symptoms.
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Lower back pain is very common among adults but typically, younger individuals are more likely to experience lower back pain due to muscle strain or from within the disc space itself.
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As we age the discs in our back can wear down and lead to back pain leading to Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). Degenerative disc disease usually occurs in active and healthy people who are in their thirties or forties. Some people with deterioration have no pain and do not become of aware of the condition until they go in for a check up or other health problems occur. This can occur in any level of the spine, which leads to localized pain.
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Stenosis is a condition where the openings in the spine get smaller. The problem of stenosis is the openings can get smaller and pinch your spinal cord or spinal nerves causing extreme pain depending on the location of where the nerve is being pinched. Gradually over time the pain will worsen so it is best to go to a doctor right away when you start to feel any symptoms of stenosis.
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The bulging disc tends to be the most common cause of back pain. There are 2 main reasons that bulging discs occur in the spine:
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One of the most common causes of back pain is a herniated disc. A herniated disc happens when all or portion of the disc in the spine is forced through a weakened portion of the disc. This can cause pressure on nearby nerves. Most people think that this process can only result from an injury, or other trauma to the back, such as heavy lifting, or a fall but it is mostly a result of the aging process.
A pinched nerve in the back is when you suffer from pain or weakened function of a nerve that is under pressure. Meaning that the nerve is being compressed, and the compression is causing pain in your back. It happens to nerves that control muscle movements or transmit sensations to the brain. A nerve extends from your brain and spinal cord, like a hose sending important messages throughout your body. If the nerve gets pinched, like a hose, the flow up and down is reduced or blocks causing the nutrients to stop flowing. Your body then sends you warning signals such as pain to alert you of the pinched nerve. Do NOT ignore these warning signals.
What can cause a pinched nerve?
- Herniated Disc
- Bulging Disc
- A pinched nerve in the lower back or buttock causing sciatic nerve to be compressed can cause sciatica.
- Inflammation of scar tissue around the joint can interfere and irritate the nerve.
- Misalignments of the spine can apply pressure to the nerves.
Typical symptoms of a pinched nervePinched nerves are very common in your lower back and neck.
- Pinched Nerve in the lower back symptoms:
- Shooting pains down the buttocks and legs.
- Radiating pain down the leg into the foot.
- Numbness or tingling in your toes and feet.
- Pinched Nerve in the neck symptoms:
- Shooting pains in the neck, shoulders, arms and fingers.
- Numbness and tingling in the fingertips and in the hands.
- Muscle spasms in the back are common with pinched nerves.
- In some cases there may be a loss of movement skills, reflexes, pain sensation in the affected area, and the weakening of the affected muscles.
In some cases the pain and sensations can come from a part of the body that is not where the pinched nerve is located. For example, a pinched nerve located in the lower back may cause pain in the persons calf. Weakness might increase where the nerve damage has constant pressure.
The damage from a pinched nerve can cause temporary or long-lasting problems so it is very important to be diagnosis early. The earlier you get a diagnosis and treatment for nerve compression, the more quickly you'll find relief. At Illinois Back Institute we are able to diagnosis and treat your pinched nerve through Functional Disc Rehydration. Patients can reactivate the muscles and discs that were once causing pain.
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