Spine

Introduction

Back pain can be triggered by a number of factors including:

• Injury due to bending or lifting 
• Over-activity
• Disk injury (disk tear or disk herniation)
• Disk degeneration
• Spinal stenosis
• Motor vehicle accidents
• Contact sports
• Falls

The spine is composed of vertebrae that are stacked upon one another, nerves, ligaments, muscles and intervertebral disks. Back pain can come on slowly or it can be a sudden onset. It can be intermittent or constant and can range from mild to severe pain. While back pain often resolves itself in time, medical attention should be sought in the following instances:

• Pain does not improve within a few weeks
• Pain extends from the back into the buttocks, hips or legs 
• Pain causes weakness, tingling or numbness

Introduction

The neck is composed of vertebrae beginning in the upper torso and ending at the base of the skull. Muscles in the neck allow for both support and motion of the head. Since the neck is less protected, as compared to the rest of the spine, is it often vulnerable to injury. Neck pain can be a temporary ailment that lessens over time, however there are instances of severe neck pain where medical intervention is required to relieve symptoms. Medical attention should always be sought when an injury causes neck pain, weakness or numbness that radiates down the arms and/or legs.

The cause of neck pain is often the result of abnormalities in soft tissue (muscles, ligaments and nerves) or in the bones and discs of the spine, abnormalities in the bone or joints, poor posture, diseases that cause deterioration, tumors and muscle strain. One of the most common causes is a sprain or prolonged wear and tear on the neck. Other causes of neck pain are injuries as the result of motor vehicle accidents, diving accidents, contact sports, and falls. Neck problems can also cause pain in the upper back, shoulders and arms.

Treatment for neck pain may include pain medication, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and/or physical therapy. If conservative management fails, interventional pain management procedures may be considered. These include trigger point injections, cervical epidural injections followed by surgical intervention. Other treatment options include range of motion exercises and cervical traction.

Introduction

Spina Bifida refers to an impairment of the development of the spinal cord.  It is rare, but when present, patients suffer permanent neurologic deficiencies of the lower extremities.  Physical and occupational therapy, bracing, and sometimes surgery are needed to improve function.

Introduction

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the space where the canal houses the nerves. This narrowing results in a pinching of the nerves and can occur in the neck (cervical spine) or lower back (lumbar spine).

This condition is most commonly caused by degeneration of the spine due to aging or a traumatic injury to the spine. Arthritis in the neck and/or back can also cause the intervertebral discs to bulge, cause bone spurs and cause ligaments in the back to thicken; all of which contribute to spinal stenosis.

Symptoms of spinal stenosis include back pain that spreads to the legs, numbness, weakness and/or pain in the arms or legs, difficulty walking and pain or numbness in the buttocks, thighs and or calves that is worsened by walking or exercise.

Spinal Stenosis is diagnosed through various imaging techniques including X-rays and MRI.

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