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spinal pain

Causes

What are the causes of persistent neck and back pain?

Wear and tear

The spine is made up of individual bones or vertebrae, which are joined together by the invertebral discs, as well as other joints and ligaments, to form a strong but flexible structure. The spinal cord and the nerves coming out from it, run through smooth channels linking the brain with the rest of the body.

In middle age and in later life there may already exist wear and tear of the invertebral discs and associated joints of the spine. This is most common in the neck and in the lower parts of the spine. The regular, healthy structure becomes more irregular with age, as discs bulge, ligaments are strained and bony spurs form. The spinal cord and the nerves issuing from it may be pinched or squeezed by the various irregular surfaces that have developed.

In a relatively small number of people persistent pain, particularly if it is associated with pains extending into the arms or the legs, may well be associated with a slipped disc. Other causes can include muscular strain, joint and ligament strain and impaired movement of the small joints that keep the spine moving (facet joints).