Conditions: BACK PAIN

Male with low back pain

Arthritis of the Back

A common cause of back pain is arthritis of the lumbar facet joints.  These joints help to stabilize the low back and allow for rotation and bending of the spine.  Facet joint pain is caused by inflammation or injury of a joints themselves.  Just like arthritis of the knee joints, arthritis of the lumbar facet joints can cause severe and chronic low back pain.


Muscle Pain

Irritated muscle groups can result in muscle aches and spasms and may be due to tension and strain within the muscles themselves.  However, muscle pain can be referred from another source, like nerve irritation or joint pain.  A thorough evaluation can help to determine the cause of the pain.


Disc Pain

The discs in your lower back enable the spine to absorb shock, rotate and bend. Over time, discs can start to break down and deteriorate (leading to degenerative disc disease)Damage to a disc, can cause the contents of the nucleus pulposes (a gel-like substance in the middle of the disc) to leak into the spinal canal area and irritate the outer part of the disc itself.  This often leads to diffuse low back pain.


Sacroiliac Joint Pain

The sacroiliac joint is formed between the sacral spine (bottom of the spine) and the edges of the pelvis (iliac bone) . The sacroiliac joint transfers the weight of the upper body to both legs, or during motion, can shift the body's weight from one leg to the other.  The sacroiliac joint can become inflamed and arthritic, which can result in significant buttock and thigh pain.



Sciatica is a commonly used term that refers to pain that starts at the low back and radiates down one or both of the lower extremities. The technical term for this syndrome of symptoms is called lumbar radiculopathy.  Commonly, a degenerative disc can bulge or leak its contents (a gel-like substance from the middle of the disc that is very inflammatory) into the spinal canal area.  The bulged disc or the inflammatory disc contents can irritate one or several nerve roots as they exit the spine.  The irritated or compressed nerve roots create a specific pattern of pain from the low back/buttock area and down one or both of the lower extremities.


Spinal Stenosis

This is a common problem that affects many of us as we age.  Lumbar Spinal Stenosis symptoms are commonly described as diffuse pain at the low back, buttock and/or down the lower extremities. Symptoms are often worse with standing and walking.  Many people with spinal stenosis do not have significant pain with sitting and lying down, however, as the disease progresses people can experience pain with prolonged sitting and when transitioning from a sitting to standing position.


Compression Fractures

The spine is composed of vertebral bodies which form the primary bony structure of the spine.   Patients with a recent fall or trauma can suffer from severe pain over the fractured vertebral body.  These types of fractures are called compression fractures and are often diagnosed by x-ray evaluation.



Commonly referred to as whole body pain, fibromyalgia symptoms often include significant aching pain in the low back and/or legs. Fibromyalgia is also frequently associated with difficultly sleeping and debilitating fatigue.  If a patient with generalized pain has a specific complaint of low back pain that is far worse than their whole body pain, a thorough evaluation may help to determine the specific cause of the pain.