Sunday, September 15, 2013

How Do You Know the Difference Between Arthritis Back Pain and Disc-Related Back Pain?

Many people believe that getting arthritis and back pain as you get older is just a normal part of life. However, you should know that you don't have to resign yourself to a life filled with back pain. It is important to understand the difference between back pain caused by arthritis and back pain that has been triggered by a disc-related issue.

The Differences in Arthritis and Disc Problems

For the most part, back pain caused by arthritis usually causes a feeling of pain in the morning. In fact, you may experience extreme stiffness in the morning if your back pain is caused by arthritis. Normally, arthritis-related back pain lessens as the day goes on and the person starts moving around more.

On the other hand, if you have a disc problem in your back, you usually experience pain that causes a radiation of pain into the shoulder or arm, or even the back of the leg or calf.

Generally speaking, arthritis is defined as the gradual breakdown or deterioration of the joint spaces in your musculoskeletal system. In most people, arthritis causes a variety of symptoms including pain, numbness, burning, cramping, inflammation and can even cause a stabbing pain in the extremities. There are two different kinds of arthritis called osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc is actually a spine condition which happens when the gel-like center of the disc ruptures through a weak area into the tough outer wall. Many times, lower back or leg pain happens when the disc material touches or compresses one of the nearby spinal nerves. It's very important to be conservative in the approach to treating lower back pain as about 80% of people will improve within six weeks under nonsurgical treatment.

If you have herniated disc, the symptoms will vary depending upon the location of the herniation. You may feel pain that radiates down your lower back area into your legs. You might even feel like an electric shock when you stand, sit or walk. Activity will likely increase the pain which is one of the differentiating points between a herniated desk and arthritis. Sometimes, you may also experience numbness and tingling associated with herniated disc.

What Should You Do When You Feel This Back Pain?

Whether you believe your pain to be caused from arthritis or a disc herniation, it's very important to get a complete exam and diagnostic testing in order to confirm your theory. A pain management specialist trained in these technologies can pinpoint the exact source of the issue so the treatment options can be tailored to the exact problem.

Instead of simply guessing that you have arthritis or a herniated disc, it's critical to find out the exact source of the pain so that your pain management specialist can customize a treatment plan for you. By getting the problem diagnosed early, you have the best chance at a complete recovery.

With today's modern treatment methods there is no need to live every day with your aching back. Be proactive and research your problem and the pain specialists in your area that are experienced with conditions like yours. Besides home remedies, there are non-invasive methods are available today so you may be able to avoid dangerous drugs or the risks of surgery.

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