Back pain comes in an array of different conditions with some that have similar names which can make it a bit confusing. Four similar conditions are SPONDYLOLISTHESIS, OSTEOPOROSIS, SCOLIOSIS and SPONDYLOSIS SPONDYLOLISTHESIS…
Spondylolisthesis is where one of the bones in your spine, known as a vertebra, slips out of position.
It’s most common in the lower back, but it can also happen in the mid to upper back or at the top of the spine at the back of your neck.
Spondylolisthesis is not the same as a slipped disc. A slipped disc is when a disc (the tissue between the bones in your spine) moves out of place.
Many people may not realise they have spondylolisthesis because it does not always cause symptoms.
Symptoms can include:
- lower back pain – which is usually worse when you’re active or when you’re standing, and is often relieved by lying down
- pain, numbness or a tingling feeling spreading from your lower back down your legs (sciatica) – this happens if the bone in the spine presses on a nerve
- tight hamstring muscles
- stiffness or tenderness in your back
- curvature of the spine (kyphosis)
The severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person.
Osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. It develops slowly over several years and is often only diagnosed when a fall or sudden impact causes a bone to break (fracture).
The most common injuries in people with osteoporosis are:
However, breaks can also happen in other bones, such as in the arm or pelvis. Sometimes a cough or sneeze can cause a broken rib or the partial collapse of one of the bones of the spine.
Osteoporosis is not usually painful until a bone is broken, but broken bones in the spine are a common cause of long-term pain.
Although a broken bone is often the first sign of osteoporosis, some older people develop the characteristic stooped (bent forward) posture. It happens when the bones in the spine have broken, making it difficult to support the weight of the body.
Osteoporosis can be treated with bone strengthening medicines.
Scoliosis is where the spine twists and curves to the side.
It can affect people of any age, from babies to adults, but most often starts in children aged 10 to 15.
Scoliosis doesn’t normally improve without treatment, but it isn’t usually a sign of anything serious and treatment isn’t always needed if it’s mild.
Signs of scoliosis include:
- a visibly curved spine
- leaning to one side
- uneven shoulders
- one shoulder or hip sticking out
- the ribs sticking out on one side
- clothes not fitting well
Some people with scoliosis may also have back pain. This tends to be more common in adults with the condition.
Cervical spondylosis causes neck pain – often in the over 50s. A GP should check more serious cases affecting the spine.
Ageing causes wear and tear to muscles and bones – called cervical spondylosis.
- neck and shoulder pain or stiffness – that comes and goes
- headaches – often starting at the back of the neck
Source : NHS England