If back pain is keeping your from enjoying your life, you’re in the right place.

Our team of experts at the EvergreenHealth Neuroscience, Spine & Orthopedic Institute is committed to working with you, from evaluation and diagnosis to designing a treatment plan to support your goals. 

Causes of Back Pain

The first step is determining the cause of your back pain. The causes are many and varied:

  • Bone and Joint Disorders
  • Overuse or Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Injury
  • Inflammation
  • Age-related wear and tear
  • Family History

Inflammation involving the spine can often cause back pain, and inflammation of the spinal nerves can cause nerve symptoms in the limb.  

Not all spinal conditions cause inflammation, and not all abnormalities in the spine cause pain.

Low Back Pain

Low back pain occurs in the lumbar spine. There are many different sources of back pain, but ultimately all pain is due to inflammation, compression, and/or abnormal mechanics.

Neuropathic pain is caused by pressure or irritation to the spinal cord or nerves leaving the spine.

Mechanical pain refers to pain that occurs when the ‘mechanics’ of the spine are strained such as occurs with disc or joint conditions.

Inflammation involving the spine can often cause back pain, and inflammation of the spinal nerves can cause nerve symptoms in the limb.

It is important to know, however, that not all spinal conditions cause inflammation, and not all abnormalities in the spine cause pain.

Spinal conditions that can cause back pain include:

  • Acute strains of muscle and soft tissues
  • Chronic strain of soft tissues such as from poor posture
  • Arthritis
  • Disc Degeneration
  • Bulging Disc
  • Herniated Disc
  • Facet Joint Pain
  • Sacroiliac Join Pain
  • Pinched Nerve without nerve damage (Radicular pain or Radiculitis)
  • Pinched Nerve with nerve damage (Radiculopathy)
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Segmental Instability
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Vertebral Fractures
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Spinal Tumors

Symptoms of Back Pain

Your symptoms of back pain will vary depending on where in your spine the pain is located, the severity of the pain, and the timing of your symptoms.

Back pain can be acute (less than 3 weeks), subacute (3 weeks to 3 months), or chronic (more than 3 months).

The quality of the back pain can be described as dull, pressure, tightness, burning sharp, stabbing, etc.

Pain that radiates into a limb can also be described these ways, or also include radiating pain, numbness, tingling, pins and needles, and weakness.

It’s important for you and your doctor to discuss when your symptoms are present and what positions or activities make it better or worse. Identifying these factors is very important for your provider to best treat your back pain, and to individualize treatment for you.

Consider the following scenarios:

  • Perhaps your low back pain travels into your buttocks and legs?
  • Is your pain constant or does it let up occasionally?
  • Does your pain get worse with sitting, standing and/or walking?
  • Does your pain lead to numbness and tingling?
  • Do you have neck pain that radiates into your head or causes headaches?
  • Does the neck pain run down your arms or into your chest?

Diagnosing Back Pain

Determining and diagnosing your pain, pain symptoms and causes is the first step to getting you back to doing the things you enjoy most in life.

You’ll likely start with your primary care physician. He or she may prescribe medications and activity advice. Advanced imaging, such as MRI or CT, is usually unnecessary as a first step.

If your pain persists, you’ll likely be referred to a group of specialists, such as the EvergreenHealth Neuroscience, Spine & Orthopedic Institute. 

We’ll provide a personal evaluation and consider use of imaging to pinpoint exactly where your back pain originates from and what the most effective treatment is for your pain.

Learn more about how we diagnose the cause of your back pain

Treating Back Pain

Did you know that only five percent of back pain issues are managed with surgery

In many cases, back pain often resolves itself over a period of time. For those that do not, physical therapy and lifestyle changes may be suggested to help alleviate pain, followed by pain medication and non-operative treatments.

Our team will explore all conservative treatment options before recommending surgery. This may also include physical therapy, manual medicine, massage therapy, acupuncture, bracing and spinal injections. The goal is to relieve your pain and get you back to the activities you enjoy.

Should surgery become necessary, we work as a team to provide the best outcome. We are committed to performing the most minimally invasive surgical procedure possible – one that is tailored to you, your unique pain and your individualized course of treatment. Minimally invasive surgeries are done with smaller incisions, which mean less pain and a faster recovery.

Learn more about how we treat back pain

Get Help Now

If you are currently experiencing back pain, please call the EvergreenHealth Neuroscience, Spine & Orthopedic Institute at 425.899.4930 today to make an appointment.

Our team will work with you to find the best treatment and get you back to enjoying the things in life you love doing.