In younger patients, the sudden onset of neck or back pain may be due to a ‘slipped’ intervertebral disc. The intervetebral discs are found between the individual bones (vertebra) of the spinal column, and act to facilitate movement of the spine and also as ‘shock absorbers’ to cushion the transmission of weight down the spinal column.
‘Slipped’ discs may press on surrounding nerves and result in pain, numbness and/or weakness in the arms and legs. When present in the legs, these symptoms are commonly referred to as ‘sciatica’ or ‘lumbago’.
In older people, degenerative changes in the spine may lead to arthritis of the spine, and this may be a cause of pain. In some cases, bone spurs can press on surrounding nerves or even on the spinal cord, leading to pain, numbness and/or weakness in the arms and legs.
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