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The most common back problems occur when disks tear, bulge or rupture. In such cases, an injured disk can no longer cushion the vertebrae and absorb shock. As a result, the rest of your spine may also weaken. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and other symptoms.
Torn annulus. A sudden movement may cause a tiny tear in an annulus. Nearby ligaments may stretch.
Contained herniated disk. As a disk wears out, the nucleus may bulge into the annulus and press on nerves.
Extruded herniated disk. When a disk ruptures, its nucleus can squeeze out and irritate a nerve.
Arthritis. As disks wear out over time, bone spurs form. These growths can irritate nerves and inflame facets.
Instability. As a disk stretches, the vertebrae slip back and forth. This can put pressure on the annulus.
Spondylolisthesis. A crack (stress fracture) can develop in a vertebra. This may put pressure on the annulus, stretch the disk, and irritate nerves.