Disease Related Causes of Back Pain

Though most cases of back pain can be attributed to degenerative changes to back structures or injuries, there are also disease related causes. The cause of back pain may not always be mechanical in nature, certain diseases may be behind the symptoms for some people. It's important to note that virtually any disease can cause mechanical symptoms - that is, symptoms that improve with rest and worsen through an increase in physical exertion or activities. Many diseases can affect the back, including arthritis, leukemia, osteoporosis, and multiple myeloma. Let's discuss some of them here.

Arthritis. Arthritis is really a collection of diseases with the common tie of causing inflammation or destruction of the joints that move our body and protect our bones. The two main causes of arthritis is either a wearing down of the affected joints, or some type of disease that causes the joints to become red and inflamed. All of the causes of arthritis involve degenerative changes to the joints . Arthritis is in fact a group of more than one hundred diseases that effect the joints. Because the spine is made up of 48 joints, it is commonly affected by arthritis. Though almost any form of arthritis can affect the joints of the spine, here are the most common forms that impact the spine and our livelihoods.

"For age is opportunity no less than youth itself, though in another dress, and as the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) U.S. poet.

Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the type of arthritis the most closely tied to old age, or it may be due to an old injury that we are finally paying for as we approach early or late middle age. Age and time cause degenerative changes to all of us over time, though at different rates. Also, there differences to how our body responds to the wearing down of our body's joints over time. For some of us, our body's adapt to these changes rather well, for others, we find the pain to be quite debilitating.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and it is associated with the aging process. Osteoarthritis (OA) occurs when joint cartilage (the tough, smooth connective tissue at the ends of bones) wears down or breaks down. The cartilage that separates two bones can wear down to a certain point where the actually contact one another, causing friction and degenerative changes. These degenerative changes may include some degree of destruction to the bones, or bone spurs to develop. Bone spurs in the spine, are most likely to affect the areas around the facet joints.

Ankylosing spondylitis. Ankylosing spondylitis primarily affects the spine and is a rare form of arthritis. Ankylosing spondylitis causes a stiffening and inflammation of the ligaments or joints of the spine. A typical progression of the disease includes the disease beginning in the sacroiliac joints, and a progression upwards to the thoracic and cervical spine. Ankylosing is also known as Seronegative bundle arthropathy Spondylitis, or Rheumatoid spondylitis. The cause of Ankylosing spondylitis is largely unknown, but certain genetic markers (human leukocyte antigen-B27 (HLA-B27) can be tested to determine the probability of a person contracting the disease.