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Back Pain

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Back pain is a common condition that 8 out of every 10 Americans experience at some point.

A sore back may resolve itself with time and rest.

However, pain in your back is also a symptom for a more serious condition.

Marshfield Clinic's spine specialists diagnose and treat a variety of back problems.​​​​​​​​​​​

Common Spine and Disk Problems

The most common serious back problems happen when disks tear, bulge, or rupture. In such cases, an injured disk can no longer cushion the vertebrae and absorb shock. As a result, the rest of your spine may also weaken. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and other symptoms.

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Torn annulus
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Contained herniated disk
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Extruded herniated disk

  • Torn annulus. A sudden movement may cause a tiny tear in an annulus. Nearby ligaments may stretch.

  • Contained herniated disk. As a disk wears out, the nucleus may bulge into the annulus and press on nerves.

  • Extruded herniated disk. When a disk ruptures, its nucleus can squeeze out and irritate a nerve.

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Arthritis
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Instability
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Spondylolisthesis

  • Arthritis. As disks wear out over time, bone spurs form. These growths can irritate nerves and inflame facets.

  • Instability. As a disk stretches, the vertebrae slip back and forth. This can put pressure on the annulus.

  • Spondylolisthesis. Listhesis is a condition in which one vertebra has moved forward or backward, in relation to the one above or below it. This causes a crack (stress fracture) in the areas that link the vertebrae together. This may put pressure on the annulus, stretch the disk, and irritate nerves.

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If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Call: 1-866-520-2510

(Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

How Much Do You Know About Your Back?

You probably take your back for granted—until it starts to hurt. Think about it—your back is a part of your body that's in nearly constant use. Whether you're sitting, standing, or moving, your back and its muscles are providing support all day, every day. Test your knowledge of the back by taking this quiz.

1. How many bones are in your spine?
2. What position is best for your back when you sleep?
3. Which of these sports can cause dangerous back injuries?
4. How many Americans will suffer back pain at some time in their lives?
5. What is the average recovery time for low-back pain?
6. Disks cushion vertebrae in the back. What are they made of?
7. Which of these is a significant risk factor for backache?
8. Which of these measures will help a backache?
9. How should you lift a heavy object?
10. What are the warning signs of a herniated disk?

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