Cervical or lumbar? Distinguishing between two types of spinal cord pain
Degeneration of the spinal discs occurs in both the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) regions as these areas undergo the most movement. The small discs between the length of the spinal column can experience structural changes, which then lead to low-grade, chronic pain because of factors like:
- Twisting or lifting injuries.
- Small, circumferential tears in the outer layer of the disc.
- A decrease of disc height or compression of the disc space due to aging. Both decreasing disc height and water content place added pressure and stress on facet joints (the connections between the bones of the spine)
- Inflammation caused by contact between the proteins in the disc’s interior and the nearby muscles, joints, and nerve roots.
If you’re experiencing degeneration of the lumbar spine discs, you’re likely to face:
- Moderate to low continuous back pain in the region.
- Occasional pain flare-ups that last for a few days and intensify over time.
- Leg pain, including numbness and muscle weakness in the area, as well as sharp or shooting pain in the buttocks, hips, and/or back of the leg.
- Pain with sitting, especially for long periods of time, and stiffness after maintaining only one position.
- Neck pain associated with cervical spine DDD feels like:
- A stiff neck, low-grade pain that radiates across the neck and shoulders, even progressing into the arms.
- Acute pain caused by movements that aggravate the area.
- Sensations of pins-and-needles or tingling radiating from the shoulder down to the arms.
- Sharp or severe pain that feels like an electric shock, which could be a sign of related nerve pain across the spinal joints.
There’s a lot you can do to alleviate the chronic pain related to degenerative disc disease. As regional experts in spinal rehabilitation, JAG-ONE PT can help you reduce DDD-related pain and restore spinal mobility. Visit JAGONEPT.com today for location information and to schedule your appointment.