Back Problems

Back Problems Specialist
Back problems can come about for a variety of reasons and can be debilitating. Dr. Malinick treats patients in and around San Dimas, California who are suffering from back problems to get them back to their top health.

Back Problems Q & A

by Richard Malinick, MD

What is upper and middle back pain?

Upper and middle back pain references pain that occurs from the base of your neck all the way down to the bottom of your rib cage. The upper and middle back, known as the thoracic spine, has twelve vertebrae which attach to your rib cage and make up the longest part of your back. If a nerve in this area becomes pinched, irritated, or injured, the pain can travel into your arms, legs, chest, and belly. Upper and middle back pain is not as common as low back pain or neck pain.

What are other causes of low back pain?

Low back pain can occur from many different conditions. Most causes of back pain are the result of an injury or trauma. Some of the most common causes of back pain include:

  • Muscle Strain
  • Bulging or herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Sciatica or pinched nerve
  • Sacroiliac Joint Inflammation
  • Ligament Sprain

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc, also called a slipped disc, occurs when part of the intervertebral disc in the spine bulges and 'sticks out' causing pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. This can cause pain, numbness, or tingling or even weakness in the arm or leg.

What is Sacroiliac Joint Pain?

Inflammation in the sacroiliac (SI) joint can cause pain to flare up in the lower back. Women are more susceptible to SI pain and often feel it radiating into the leg, with symptoms similar to sciatica.

What causes upper and middle back problems?

Pain in the upper or lower back can be the results of many different things such as:

  • Overuse
  • Muscle strain
  • Injury to the muscles, ligaments, and discs that support your spine.
  • Poor posture
  • Pressure on the spinal nerves from herniated disc.
  • A fracture of one of the vertebrae
  • Osteoarthritis caused by the breakdown of cartilage that cushions the small facet joints in the spine.
  • Myofascial pain that affects the connective tissue of a muscle or group of muscles.

In some cases, other problems may cause pain, such as gallbladder disease, cancer, or an infection.

What is Scoliosis?

Patients who suffer from scoliosis have an abnormally curved back. The abnormal bend may be to the left or right, and it can occur anywhere along the spine. When the curve is in the upper back, the scoliosis is called thoracic scoliosis. When the curve is in the lower back, the condition is called lumbar scoliosis. There are also several different types of scoliosis that affect children and adolescents. By far, the most common type is "idiopathic," which means the exact cause is not known. Dr. Malinick can evaluate and treat scoliosis of the spine in adults and children.

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