Cause of Back Pain Part 2: Physiological Back Pain

Low Back Pains | Neck Pains

Illustration of a Herniated Disc Putting Pressure on a Spinal Nerve

In the last article I discussed Mechanical Back Pains, the most common cause of Low Back Pains. However there are several other causes for back problems.

Herniated Discs

A herniated disc is a common and well known cause for Low Back Pains.

Believe it or not, a person may have a herniated disc and never show any pain symptoms. Whereas others may have the slightest disc herniation and exhibit extreme pain.

Herniated disc pain often radiates down the legs or arms, but always. This is due to the discs pressure on the nerves as they leave the spinal column.

Frequently, pain from a herniated disc will resolve itself in 2 years. However this is not always the case.

Herniated discs are often found in the lower part of the spine. The lower spinal discs generally receive the greatest pressure which can cause them to herniate.

Discs can also herniate when a patient flexes forward, which weakens the back of the discs and the ligaments running up the spine.
Herniated discs are also commonly found in the lower neck, and occasionally in the midback.

To confirm a disc herniation,  an MRI is the best test. A disc cannot be diagnosed from X-ray, though it may help in determining if further testing is needed.


Osteoarthrits is another extremely common cause of low back pains. This is the most frequently seen type of arthritis. It occurs in joints that are unstable or are overloaded due to mechanical dysfunction (as discussed in the last article).

When a joint isn’t stable, the body will naturally try to support it by forming bone spurs. Decreased disc spaces then form as a result of improper loading in the spine.

When the disc space decreases or bone spurs form, it reduces the amount of room the nerves have as they exit the spine. This creates an increased likelihood for low back pains and neck pains radiating down the legs or arms.

Osteoarthritis is diagnosed by x-ray.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis is caused when bone spurs or bone fragments grow into the spinal canal or into the spaces where the nerves leave the spinal column.

These bone spurs and fragments decrease the space that the nerve and spinal cord have, and can crate increased pressure. This causes pain or numbness going down the legs or arms.

As with a Disc herniation an MRI is the most definitive test to diagnose Spinal Stenosis.

Herniated Discs, Osteoarthrits, and Stenosis can often be prevented. These conditions all begin with “Mechanical Dysfunction,” as I explained in the last article. These three conditions can often occur when that dysfunction is not treated and the problem progresses.

It is imperative that Chiropratic treatment is received in order to find relief for Low Back Pains and Neck Pains as soon as you notice them!

Stay updated! I will discuss treatment options for these different types of back pains in future articles.

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