What Causes Chronic Back Pain?

Persistent pain for 12 weeks or more is considered chronic. The cause of chronic back pain can be singular or the result of many different factors. Some of the more common causes of chronic back pain include aging, congenital condition, poor posture, excess weight, acute injury or incorrect lifting technique. Diseases can also cause chronic back pain. These include:

  • Herniated disc that disrupts the spinal structure and causes pain
  • Intervertebral disc degeneration
  • Trauma and injury with quick or long term onset
  • Spondylolisthesis, or slippage, resulting in nerve pinching in the spine
  • Skeletal irregularities including abnormal curvature
  • Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column
  • Sciatica, a radiculopathay of the sciatica nerve
  • Radiculopathy, compression resulting in nerve root pain

As a back specialist, Dr. Ernest Braxton offers non-surgical and advanced, minimally invasive, surgical treatments for chronic back pain.

What Causes Chronic Leg Pain?

Chronic leg pain is a persistent pain lasting 12 weeks or longer. In many cases, chronic leg pain is related to lower back pain. Each lumbar spinal nerve is known to connect to a particular area of the lower extremity. This is called the dermatomal pattern and the specific area is called the dermatome. Nerve root compression, or radiculopathy, at the nerve root is a frequent cause of leg pain.

What are the Symptoms of Chronic Back and Leg Pain?

Symptoms of chronic back and leg pain associated with disease of the spine are:

  • Burning, crawling or tingling sensation

  • Tenderness to touch
  • Muscle cramps or weakness and mobility deficits

  • Sharp or radiating pain from the lower back to the back of the leg

  • Incontinence issues of the bowel or bladder

  • Numbness to the leg and foot

  • Diminishing reflexes at the ankle or knee

  • Unusual pain worsened by abrupt movements or standing

  • Muscle spasms

How to Diagnose Chronic Back and Leg Pain?

Dr. Braxton can provide a diagnosis of chronic back and leg pain by collecting a thorough medical history and conducting a physical exam. Patient history involving the onset and progress of the pain is important to note. Symptoms involving radiating numbness, weakness and gait changes can help indicated if the chronic back and leg pain may be caused by a compression of a lumbar spinal nerve root. Imaging and other tests including X-ray, CT scan, MRI, EMGs, and ultrasound may be recommended.

Are you experiencing spinal pain? Contact Dr. Braxton today.

Does Chronic Back and Leg Pain Require Surgery?

In many cases, chronic back and leg pain can improve with non-surgical treatment options. These treatments include:

  • Heat/cold therapies
  • Rest
  • Physical therapy and strengthening exercises
  • Medications for pain relief and anti-inflammation
  • Counter-irritants for topical relief
  • Acupuncture and chiropractic therapies
  • Nerve stimulation therapy
  • Nerve block therapies including anesthetic and steroid injections

How to Treat Chronic Back and Leg Pain?

Dr. Braxton works closely with patients to determine whether surgery for chronic back and leg pain is necessary. The cause of the chronic pain will help determine the right course of treatment. When non-surgical treatment does not improve symptoms Dr. Braxton utilizes a range of advanced surgical treatments that work to reduce and eliminate pain. Regardless of the surgical procedure recommended the goal is to relieve pain and restore a normal function to the back and legs.