The list below covers the most common back and neck conditions and areas of spine-related pain. Each topic contains doctor written and reviewed articles, in-depth videos, and other beneficial information to help you understand each condition. If you are not sure what condition you are looking for, you can start your search by the location of the pain. If a condition is not covered below, you can visit our comprehensive Pain Topics A - Z or use the search box at the top of each page to find additional conditions.
Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints. It is usually painful. It can cover several joints (when it is known as oligoarthritis) or just one (monoarthritis). There are many different types of arthritis. So far over 100 types have been identified. Causes can be metabolic problems such as gout, they can be hereditary issues, or they can be illnesses or malfunction of the autoimmune system as in the case of rheumatoid arthritis. Instances of rheumatoid arthritis can further impact on organs such as the lung and kidneys. Rheumatologists (arthritis specialists) may need to conduct a number of tests to diagnose arthritis and such tests may include blood, urine, and joint fluid tests as well as X-Rays. Arthritis is wide-spread. Millions of people are suffering from it right now. Arthritis has no favorite victims. Men, women, children and old people can all suffer from it. Sometimes, it is a matter of suffering mild inconvenience, sometimes it is a matter of intense suffering. Symptoms Symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, stiffness, inflammation, swelling or simple tenderness. If it is in the hand, there can be a weakness of hand grip. Patients can experience swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, fatigue and even fever.
- Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease refers to the pain that results from wear and tear of the spinal discs. These are like soft washers that stop the vertebrae that make up the spine from rubbing together. They are filled with water inside and have a harder outer crust to stop the liquid from flowing out. As one ages, there is less water that stays in the soft centre. It can suffer from inflammation. The outer crust can tear letting water escape, so that there is no longer a protective cushion or not as big a protective cushion between the vertebrae. This can be painful and is a condition known as “herniated disc” – “slipped disc,” in common parlance. Apart from the friction between the vertebrae, if a disc outer crust tears near to a nerve, this will also lead to pain. Symptoms Degenerative disc disease tends to feel worse when sitting and better when moving around. It can also feel better through a simple change of position or just by lying down. It can feel worse when bending or lifting things. It tends to come and go, lasting from a few days to a few months. Sometimes there is a numbness or tingling in the arms or legs.
Pain from the thoracic spine is less common than from the cervical spine (neck) or lumbar spine (lower back). Muscular issues and joint dysfunctions are the most common problems in upper back.
- Neck Pain
Who hasn’t suffered from neck pain at some time in their lives? It is a common result of an excessively sedentary lifestyle with many hours spent in front of a computer or at the wheel of a car and letting the muscles stiffen and strain with lack of movement and bad posture. However, there are many more serious causes. Neck pain can result from accidental jolts such as whiplash in a car accident or from sports injuries. It can result from degenerative disc disease, from herniated discs, from a pinched nerve or from common infections such as sore throat that bring on a swelling of the lymph node. It can also come as a result of less common infections such as tuberculosis of the neck, osteomyelitis, fibromyalgia or polymyalgia rheumatica. Symptoms Neck pain usually takes the form of a dull ache, but it can also manifest itself as a sharp pain, as numbness or as tingling. Sometimes the neck simply feels tender. Pain can spread to the face or to the shoulders. It can be accompanied by headaches. It can even spread to other parts of the body. It can be accompanied by dizziness or swelling of the thyroid gland. In short, it is quite difficult to diagnose precisely and needs a specialist to attend to it.