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Forum Name: Degenerative Bone Diseases

Question: consistant back pain


 charley d - Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:10 am

I've been having back pain for about 6 weeks. The whole back, centered along my spine, from my neck to the small of my back. I'm 44, 120 lbs, female, I do karate 2x/week, swim 1x/week, belly dance and am in excellent health & physical condition. I drive my car a lot for my sales job but it's the same car I've had for 4 years. Our mattress is a pretty good one. The pain is constant & consistent without much variation in degree of pain (discomfort, maybe the word pain is too strong), I'd rate it at 5 out of 10 every day. My mother has degenerative disk disease, should I consider looking into this?
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:58 am

User avatar Hello,
Thanks for writing in.

You have reported pain/discomfort along the entire spine - from the neck to the low back. You are physically fit. Mother has degenerative disc disease. You spend considerable time driving.

In the spine, a small amount of pain can trigger a general amount of pain. In other words, the muscles along the spine (the paraspinal muscle run the length of the entire spine) can spasm and cause pain or discomfort. Pain can also be referred from one place in the back to another (without muscle spasm).

With your history, I would evaluate the back for overall mobility to determine if you tend toward hyper or hypo mobility. I would suspect the former. With hypermobility of the spine, there is an increase of shearing force at the facet joints (small joints in the spine)and increased risk of laxity between the vertebrae. Over time this can caused arthritis, mal aligned of the spine, or inflamation in the tissue supporting the spine including the discs.

Degenerative disc disease is a broad term which radiologist use to describe abnormal MRI findings of the spine.
Before having an MRI, you may consider seeing a massage therapist or physical therapist. MRI would be indicated if these do not help or if your pain is worsening or if numbness/tingling/limb weakness occur (an indication for possible nerve damage).

Also, use of NSAIDs for a week, heat and/or ice packs may provide some immediately relief.

If in doubt or concern about any above information, consult your primary physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment options.

Keep us posted and take care.

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