Causes of Joint Pain

Causes of Joint Pain

Back Pain Causes

The most common cause of back pain is skeletal problems – problems affecting all the tissues of the spine other than muscles or nerves. If, like many people, you are not as fit as you could be, you run more risk of injury because your muscles will not be able to provide support when it is most needed.

Causes of Back Pain:

Skeletal Problems

In the human back, referred pain can be felt anywhere along the pathway of a compressed nerve. If one of the nerves that run from the base of the neck to the hands is compressed, pain can be felt down the arm and into the hand. If one of the nerves that run from the base of the spine down the legs and into the feet is compressed, pain may be felt in a buttock, a leg or even a foot.

The site of the referred pain can give doctors and therapists valuable information about exactly where in the back the troubles lie. If you feel pain in the back of a thigh and down the outer side of your leg and foot, for example, the problem may be in the base of the spine at the level of the sciatic nerve roots.

Identifying Back Problems

The sciatic nerve is the largest in the body, extending from the lower back down the back of the leg to the calf. Many sciatica sufferers find that lying on their side with a pillow between their knees gives them relief. Nerve problems in the back normally have a structural cause. The nerve roots can easily be squeezed as they leave the spinal cord by injuries to a facet joint or a disc.

When this happens there may be local inflammation and pain but there can also be pain in any area of the body which is supplied by the affected nerve, for example down a leg or along an arm. There may also be numbness, or the prickling sensation of pins and needles.

Pain and Nerve Problems

Injuries to the muscles of the back occur in many ways. Because the muscles are an integral part of the structure of the back, supporting the bones of the spine and controlling their movements, they are inevitably affected when injuries happen. If a facet joint slips out of alignment or you suffer a prolapsed disc, the muscles around the damaged area can become strained and painful as they struggle to support structures that are no longer in balance.

Back Pain and Muscular Problems

As people age, bone-related back problems may become more common. However, regular exercise and sensible precautions may help avoid problems. In the condition known as osteoporosis, all the bones of the body lose much of their calcium and mineral content. This causes them to thin and makes them susceptible to fractures.

Although osteoporosis can affect younger people, it is mainly associated with aging. It can strike men but women are the most at risk as the process of bone mineral loss speeds up after the menopause. Regular exercise, such as walking, running, aerobics or racquet sports, and a healthy, balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D are important in preventing osteoporosis.

Upper Back Pain Causes

What exactly is back pain and what are the different types of back pain? There is something known as upper back pain, lower back pain etc. Let us find out the upper back pain causes and how these can be addressed.

Reasons or upper back pain causes

Extreme upper back pain is caused due to wrong posture, prolonged working on the computer or any form of trauma and so on. When you are sitting in a not so comfortable position when working on the computer and there is improper height and wrong usage of a mouse, it may lead to upper back pain. The pain also passes on to your shoulders and neck and it can be quite irritating and painful. Joint complications and muscle pain are also an after-effect of upper back pain.

Many of us experience this pesky pain radiating from the shoulders to the neck to the upper back. Wrong way of lifting objects or things may also lead to upper back pain. At times, the ache could be dull or it could be a continuous tingling sensation. It is imperative to give a thought to the pain and it also needs to be addressed immediately.

Misaligned vertebrae or bursting of cervical discs

If the cervical discs have burst or if the vertebrae are misaligned it may lead to upper back pain. It is important to take the help of a chiropractor so that you get some relief from the pain. Many a times, people pull their muscles due to being seated in a wrong posture or position, lifting hefty items and so on.

Treating upper back pain

A number of doctors also advise going in for physiotherapy sessions as it would help in treating upper back pain considerably. Ice application also helps considerably and it can help treat and address the upper back pain considerably.

If the pain is superficial, there is no cause for worry and simply local application of any pain relieving balm or ointment will do the trick, but if there is an excruciating and pain internally, the first thing is to go in for an x-ray that will help identify where the pain is radiating from. An X-ray will help address the problem and the cause of the pain in a better fashion. At times, even a gastric problem can be the cause of the upper back pain. Gas, flatulence and acidity are the other causes of the upper back pain and problems.

The constitution of an individual also has a bearing on the type of pain. At times, people who have a nervous problem may also suffer from back pain, thanks to the brain receptors not passing on the correct signals to the spinal column and other parts of the body. This is indeed a serious problem and it is more of a neurotic problem which needs immediate medical attention and treatment.

Avoid over the counter medication

All of us are well aware of the serious complications involved in OTC medications. Many people have also had serious complications, thanks to these over the counter medicines that have been ingested without any professional medical help or prescription.

These are chronic pain in muscles which some people suddenly or over time experiences and this may also spread to the soft tissues surrounding the joints. Again, inflammation or infection of the spinal cord may be a cause while for others a slipped disc, conditions like osteoporosis or spinal cord narrowing and which subsequently presses upon the nerves and the spinal cord. There are several types of treatments ranging from ice or heat therapy, acupuncture, exercise to surgery for your upper back pain causes.

Diagnosing Lower Back Pain Causes

In everything we do in life, analyzing the problem is the first step taken before conducting anything else and the same goes for lower back problems since you need to first recognize the symptoms, then analyze the lower back pain causes, and then cure it. Through an actual spinal exam, a doctor can conveniently identify plausible causes of lower back pain.

A good instance of a test undertaken to analyze a patient’s spine condition during a medical exam is the Straight Leg Raising Test. This test can be performed by pulling one leg to a 90 degree position with respect to the patient’s body while he is lying on his back and this will help find out the range of flexion in the hip joint. There is nerve root compression if pain is felt on the other leg, also referred to as contra lateral radiation.

A physician may also consider dorsiflexion of the foot and pressing upon the popliteal fossa where the tibia nerve is found while stretching a flexed knee to help ascertain if a patient has a pinched nerve. Lumbar herniation may also be found with the application of these tests. Unless of course any Lower Back Pain Symptoms are exists imaging treatments such as X-rays and CT scans will not be utilized with acute lower back pain. For patients with chronic lower back pain, imaging techniques would help the physician figure out the lower back pain causes.

Never waste time and money on unnecessary procedures and tests by determining low back hip pain causes and symptoms.

For lower back pain patients, the next few diagnostic assessments are some of the most frequently used in the medical community nowadays…

• Plain X-ray:

This is best utilized in patients whose lower back pain has not improved or has become worse after 30 days. Patients who have endured considerable shock, patients over 50 years old who have dealt with moderate trauma, those with osteoporosis, and patients with a background of steroid use are recommended to take an X-ray test. X-rays can also locate bone deformities (like scoliosis), bone fractures, and bone irregularities due to aging.

• Myelogram:

Relatively akin to an X-ray, a myelogram involves injecting a radio-opaque dye into the spinal canal of the patient. This test is done together with a CT scan if surgery is intended on the patient.

• CT scan:

Not used in acute back pain cases, but may be very helpful when the patient presents with lower back pain symptoms, showing spinal canal and bone infection, fracture, tumour, and cauda equina syndrome.

• MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging):

This test is also used to diagnose the same conditions as in CT scan tests. The application of MRIs in discovering disc herniations have generated inconclusive results. Almost 20% of ruptured discs found during surgical treatment have not been spotted by the MRI done in one research. MRIs of patients without having low back pain, on the other hand, have revealed herniated discs in 40% of cases.

• Bone density:

Utilize to detect osteoporosis and weakness in the spinal vertebrae. Though with osteoporosis, lower back pain is not a manifestation but bone cracks prompted by this illness may lead up to that.

• Electromyelogram (EMG):

This is a nerve test undertaken by putting small, fine needles into the muscles so as to monitor electrical activity. The EMG test will help establish the degree of nerve root damage and it will help the doctor differentiate between muscle disease and nerve root disease in chronic lower back pain cases.

A physician can conveniently identify lower back pain causes with the use of these imaging solutions.

Middle Back Pain Left Side Causes and 3 Tips to Avoid

Nobody deserves an awful life with middle back pain – left side pain at the thoracic vertebrae particularly, which drives you insane at a certain point in your life. Here are some causes that can possibly trigger the pain at the left middle back.

Middle Back Pain Left Side Cause #1:

Overly use of the left hand

If you are a left hander person or frequently use most of your left hand to perform strenuous tasks, you will have higher possibility to have muscle sprain, particularly at the left part of the latissimus dorsi (commonly known as ‘lats’) – which has important roles in drawing the arm backwards, pulling the shoulder down as well as the body upwards.

Middle Back Pain Left Side Cause #2:

The Imbalance use of the associate middle back muscles

The middle back pain left side arises from either overuse or underuse of the left middle muscles including latissimus dorsi and rhomboid (which runs between the scapula and the thoracic vertebrae). Localized pain at the middle back pain left side happens when the ‘lats’ fails to support the thoracic vertebrae and maintain stability, due to inappropriate posture.

Things can be complicated when you fail to maintain a good posture at work, resulting extended pain nearby middle back area – which is within the left shoulder or scapula (shoulder blade) area. It is because of the rhomboid unable to perform at its best to brace the shoulder and to rotate the scapula.

Middle Back Pain Left Side Cause #3:

Indigestion and excess intake of carbohydrates

Some individuals have suffered from such middle back pain after eating – especially when they had undergone a long period of starvation, and then took a large portion of meal at once. This eating habit can lead to poor digestion and overly consumption of carbohydrates, causing rare vertebral subluxation (spinal misalignment) to occur.

Here are some tips to avoid middle back pain left side:

  • Balance the use of your hands – If it’s possible, don’t limit the use of one-single hand or your left hand when you’re performing vigorous activities.
  • Start a specialized middle back pain exercises – One of the most effective middle back pain exercises – the Pilates system has a few specialized workout programs including shoulder girdle and upper torso programs; can strengthen and stabilize the middle back, and facilitate its coordinate function.
  • Get a massage therapy which coupled with traditional middle back pain medical treatment – Such integrated treatment has the ability to relieve middle back pain problems which arise from the soft-tissue abnormalities or injured ligaments and muscles at the thoracic vertebrae.

Top 3 Upper Middle Back Pain Causes That You Should Know

Upper middle back pain is normally occurs within the thoracic vertebrae although it has the lowest mobility and highest stability than the other spinal regions – cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) vertebrae. Many people are unaware that upper middle back is the ambiguity of these common terms middle back, mid-back or thoracic vertebrae (or spine). Since all of these terms bring the same meaning, “upper middle back pain” and “middle back pain” have similar cause and symptoms.

Here are the other possible upper middle back pain causes as follows:

Upper Middle Back Pain Causes #1: Muscular Irritation (or myofascial pain):

When the muscles surrounding the upper middle back are weakened due to lack of activity of shoulder girdle muscles, lumbar multidifus (muscle that links all spinal columns together), and transversospinales muscles (involves in many complex movements of vertebrae), that can cause a chronic form of muscle pain which is known as myofascial pain, which can be also linked to upper middle back pain. Same thing happens if you overwork these muscles especially when you are not fully recovered from a direct trauma.

Upper Middle Back Pain Causes #2: Joint dysfunction

One of the most common upper middle back pain causes is the dysfunction in the costovertebral joints – which connect the heads of the ribs with the centrum part (or the body) of the thoracic vertebrae, as the effect of prolong osteoarthritis. The pain arises from the inevitable friction between the degenerated joints involved as well as damaged dorsal costotransverse ligament.

Upper Middle Back Pain Causes #3: Thoracic disc disease

One of the most common upper middle back pain causes is thoracic disc disease which affects the thoracolumbar (or the thoracic and lumbar parts of the spinal column) junction (specifically T8-T12) in the middle back. In other words, worst thing can happen when thoracic disc fails to play the role of shock absorber. To be specific, thoracic disc disorder like thoracic herniated disc or thoracic degenerative disease is the main culprit behind the deterioration of spinal cord at the herniated material in the upper back.

Other symptoms are numbness and radiating pain near or within the herniated disc area (also known as centro-lateral disc herniation), or induced pain at the chest and upper middle back pain when coughing or sneezing.

It is important to have a diagnosis to find out the actual upper middle back pain causes by referring to a physician before you start taking actions to overcome the upper middle back pain.

If your diagnosis shows that you are suffering from one of above-mentioned upper middle back pain causes or symptoms, don’t act hasty by visiting a chiropractor – as the symptoms could get worse if you undergo spinal manipulation or any forms of chiropractic adjustments. Always consult a physician or an orthopaedist for profession advice.

What Causes the Middle Back Pain Right Side?

The middle back pain right side is occurring and you cannot seem to remember what actually triggers it. Although the pain subsides after a few hours of quality sleep, the middle pain right side still reoccurs all in a sudden, which affects your performance at work as well as your daily duties.

Before you start recalling what exactly causes the localized pain at the right part of the thoracic vertebrae, here are some possibilities that cause such back pain:

Middle Back Pain Right Side Cause #1: Right-handed individuals or those who use most of their right hand to perform laborious tasks.

If you are a right-handed person or frequently use your right hand to perform strenuous activities – for instance, when you swing a golf club, it involves a twisting movement which stretches the right middle back muscles – particularly at the right side of the latissimus dorsi (which is the largest muscles that support the spine).

Middle Back Pain Right Side Cause #2: Overuse or underuse of the right middle back muscles

A group of muscles which attach at the middle back columns is known as the erector spine, which plays the role of straightening the back and rotation movements. Performing excess weight lifting exercises like hypertensions, bent-over row, pull-up and etc., can damage erector spinae as well as the surrounding spinal ligaments. Same thing happens when these muscles are under-utilized and then forced to function beyond its ability to contract.

Here are a few ways to manage middle back pain right side:

Limit the use of your right hand

This doesn’t mean that you should stop using your right hand, which it is impractical. It actually means that you don’t overuse one hand to perform any strenuous activities. For example, if the middle back pain right side arises from your over-activity of your right hand, stop and rest for a while and see how it goes later.

Balance the use of your hands

If you have watched the 80’s “The Karate Kid” movie, the karate kid character, Daniel was trained by his mentor, to do clockwise-and-anti-clockwise hand movements in his chores with his hands. In this case, it’s time to perform tasks equally with your hands as a way to prevent overuse of your right hand as mentioned earlier.

Get a structural massage to relieve middle back pain right side

Since massage therapy is commonly used in relieving chronic back pain, it can be an effective approach for middle back pain. However, having a massage therapy alone can get rid of the middle back on a temporary basis. For prolong pain relief effect, massage therapy has to be coupled with other medical treatments including proper medication and exercises.

Knee Joint Pain Causes You May Not Know About

Knee joint pain is a common condition experienced by many people all over the world. There are many different conditions that are related to what causes joint knee pain, but there are also other factors that can bring about knee joint pain that people may not know about.

Sports

Sports require different motions: running, jumping, twisting, and turning are just some of the actions performed when playing sports. The strain and pressure put on the knees because of these strenuous activities can actually take its toll on the knees, causing knee joint pain and other conditions that are related to the injury of this body part. Many basketball players have had their careers ended because of knee-related problems, like ACL injuries. Contact sports in particular increase the risk of contracting knee joint pain.

This does not mean that athletes should quit their jobs or that those with active lifestyles should choose more sedentary habits. It simply means that individuals who lead very active lives will also need to take the necessary precautions in order to avoid contracting knee joint pain.

Overuse

Believe it or not, it is actually possible to contract knee joint pain because the parts of the knees can become overused. Pulled muscles, tendonitis, and bursitis are common overuse knee injuries. Age is also known as a factor that increases the likelihood of knee-related ailments, such as arthritis. These conditions are often mild at the beginning and can gradually worsen over time, so these should be attended to immediately to prevent these from turning into chronic problems.

Going up and down the stairs

Walking upstairs can put pressure on your knees that is equivalent to four times your body weight, while running up the stairs can raise it up to eight times your body weight. Other kinds of high-impact activities, like running on uneven ground, jumping on hard surfaces and high-impact aerobics can also injure your knees.

Being obese or overweight

Here’s another reason why you should seriously consider losing that extra weight: obesity increases the pressure on your knees, making you more susceptible to knee joint pain.

Infections

Like other body parts, the knee can also contract infections and are accompanied by the same symptoms: fever, chills, and extreme heat on the affected area. Joint aspiration (removing fluids in the joints with the use of a needle) is usually done to diagnose and treat infections of the knees, along with a prescription for antibiotics.

Most of the reasons behind knee joint pain are because the body part is abused or not well taken care of. The best way to prevent contracting the condition is by exercising to strengthen the muscles that support your knees.

Make sure that you take the necessary precautions to prevent what causes joint knee pain: start off slowly, especially if you’re not used to exercises. Start stretching exercises before you work out. Take every other day off if you’re doing strenuous exercises. Wear proper footwear. Weight reduction can also help prevent knee joint pain since there will be less pressure on your knees.

Neck Pain Causes

Neck pain is a condition that is highly common in about 80% of the population. In order to understand neck pain better, we should understand the difference between actual neck pain and arm or upper extremity pain.

Neck pain can be considered the pain that is felt and stays within the neck and arm or upper extremity pain is another type of pain, which moves down the shoulder, arms or hand. Pain down the arm can also be defined as radicular pain and is usually caused by a compression on the nerve when it moves through the spinal canal or when it leaves the spine. This type of pressure could be caused by a ruptured or herniated disc, or by the thickening of the ligaments, which is known as spinal stenosis, or with bone spurs known as osteophytes.

Neck pain could be caused by a strain or sprain of the muscles and ligaments that are connected to the spine. Neck pain could be caused by the inflammation of the joints in the spine or by the degeneration of the disc spaces located between the vertebral bodies. Fractures of the spine due to trauma result in neck pain as well. Tumours and infections of the spine could also be a cause of neck pain. Mechanical instability, which is seen in spondylolisthesis, could be a result of neck pain as well.

It is important for a neurosurgeon to find out the cause of the neck pain in order to treat the neck pain accordingly. A neck pain evaluation can be done by taking the patient’s history to identify when the neck pain began, where has the neck pain travelled, the nature of the neck pain (shooting, stabbing, burning) and what makes the neck pain better or worse. The neurosurgeon can then perform a physical examination and consult with the patient through detailed MRI, CT scans or x-rays of the spine. It is only after the diagnosis of the cause of neck pain can treatment begins to relieve the neck pain.

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Last updated on September 1, 2016