Facts About Back Pain

Back Pain True/False:

Back pain feels similar among most people who suffer from this condition.

False.  Back pain has many different causes, and can occur across different ages as well, including children.  For these reasons, the experience of back pain can vary greatly from person to person.

The best cure for back pain is surgery.

False.  Depending on the cause of the back pain, surgery may not even be indicated. Some back pain can resolve on its own. 

In the back, vertebrae and disks are the same.

False.  The bones (vertebrae) connect to each other to protect the spinal cord.  The vertebrae are cushioned from each other by intervertebral disks.  These disks contain special cartilage which makes them harder on the outside and soft on the inside. 

The term “herniated disk” means the same as a “slipped” or “ruptured” disk.

True. The disks are made up of a soft cartilage in the center, which helps to cushion the surrounding vertebrae from each other.  The softer cartilage can leak out of the disk when the outer layer tears or breaks (herniates).  When this substance moves from its normal position, the disk can press up against other structures in the spine, causing pain (or sometimes numbness or weakness).