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What causes pain in the spinal column?

Pain can be caused in the spinal column in a variety of ways.

  • Vertebrae are block-shaped bones that form your spinal column. Cervical vertebrae are located in the neck, thoracic vertebrae are located in the mid to upper back and lumbar vertebrae are in the lower back. Discs are spongy shock absorbers between each of the vertebrae. A herniated disc or a disc with wear and tear may cause inflammation and pain.
  • Spinal nerves are branches from the spinal cord exiting the spinal column. They transmit signals that control the movement of your muscles and provide sensation in your arms and legs. These nerves can be irritated or inflamed and cause pain. The epidural space is the space around the sheath (dura) covering the spinal nerves. Placing anti-inflammatory medicine in the epidural space can help reduce spinal nerve inflammation.
  • Facet joints are small joints in the back of the spine that guide the bending motions of each vertebra. These joints can be irritated or inflamed and cause pain.
  • Nerve roots pass through side openings between vertebrae called intervertebral foramina. Irritation or inflammation of the nerve roots can cause pain.
  • Sacroiliac joints (SI joints) are formed by your lower spine (sacrum) and pelvic bone (ilium). Inflammation in these joints can cause low back, buttock and other pain.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.