Back Pain

Herniated Disk

Herniated discs are often referred to as "slipped disks", however nothing actually slips. The annulus loses some of its strength before its nucleus has a chance to lose a percentage of water content. The balance is now disrupted. The annulus then ruptures, oozing out a portion of the nucleus. If this portion of the nucleus meets up with a nerve root the pain can e excruciating. Sometimes there is not pain, but numbness.

Bulging Disc

Much like herniated discs, the annulus loses strength before its nucleus has a chance to lose a percentage of its water. However, the annulus does not rupture, and instead, the pressure cause the annulus to bulge. The bulging disc usually does not interfere with a nerve root's functioning. Instead, it tends to irritate the nerve. Nevertheless, an irritated root can cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensation.

Facet Joint Problem

Problems are usually a result of trauma, over use or per-existing degeneration of the facet. Once a disc's nucleus begins to lose some of its water percentage, less pressure is on the annulus. However this may increase stress on the facet joints. Since there is now less height to the disc, the neighbouring vertebrae are closer together. Now that they are closer, they may rub against each other when they move. This may cause symptoms of neck, or back pain which are usually not severe and are vague as to their origin.


As vertebrae age, they can develop osteophytes ,which are growths of extra bone formed at the edges of the joints, These osteophytes (also called bone spurs or lipping) may even break off into fragments and collect in a joint. Osteophytes limit mobility which actually reduces some back pain by stabilizing the discs or joints.

Spinal Stenosis

The two most common types of Spinal Stenosis are Central Spinal Stenosis and Lateral Spinal Stenosis. Central Spinal Stenosis is the narrowing of the central part of the canal pressing on the spinal cord. Sometimes, this type of Spinal Stenosis is congenital. Lateral Spinal Stenosis is generally the cause of steophytes, which forma round the edges of the vertebra. No, narrower than usual, the vertebra is pressing against the never roots.

Accurate diagnosis starts with a thorough history of the problems, followed by a physical examination including orthopedic and neurological testing. X-rays may be taken if clinically warranted to help with the diagnosis. At this point the entire diagnosis, proposed treatment plan and prognosis for recovery is discussed with the patient.

These are just some of the causes of back pain. At Alta Vista Chiropractic and Massage Clinic we can also provide relief from the pain caused by:

  • Back Pain (Lower, Middle, Neck)
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Nerve Pain
  • Arthritis
  • Headaches
  • Sports Injuries
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