Spinal cord related conditions
Spinal stenosis is when pressure is applied to the spinal cord and nerves, and spaces in between the backbone begin to reduce. Old age and hereditary are common causes for spinal stenosis. Tumors in the spine and some physical trauma can be another cause. Stenosis can also be caused osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or spondylolisthesis. Symptoms include lower back and leg pain, difficulty in walking, numbness or tingling in legs, and falling. Treatment options include rest, medications, changes in posture, and surgery.
Spinal cord injury refers to any damage done to the spinal cord, and the nerve bundles running from the brain down to the vertebral column. The major cause are accidents where a sudden blow is delivered to the spinal cord, and causes spine fractures or dislocations. Symptoms include loss of movement, sensation, bladder control; spasms, and stinging pain. Rehabilitation, keeping the neck immobilized, maintaining breathing and blood pressure, and small doses of the steroid methylprednisolone are useful treatments.
Inflammation of the arachnoid (The membrane that covers and protects nerves of the spinal cord) results in Arachnoiditis. Persistent pain in the lower back, numbness, or weakness in the legs, muscle cramps, skin sensations like “bugs crawling” or “water dripping” are the symptoms of the condition. Physical therapy such as hydrotherapy, massage, and hot/cold therapy, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, anti-spasm drugs, and corticosteroids can help treat this condition.
This is a severe neurological disorder affecting nerve roots of the spinal cord. Injuries to the lower back, spinal lesions, and tumors, spinal arteriovenous malformations, and narrowing of the spinal canal can result in this condition. Severe lower back pain, loss of sensations in your legs, buttocks, inner thighs, and sexual dysfunction are common symptoms. Surgery is recommended to remove the material that is pressurizing the nerves.
This condition involves a tumor growing on the spinal cord. Causes of this condition are unsure; possibilities include defective genes, hereditary, and exposure to chemicals. Symptoms include back pain, which spreads to other body parts, loss of sensation in arms and legs, decreased sensitivity to pain, difficulty in walking and loss of bladder function. Treatments include surgery and radiation therapy.
This is a rare disease where a cyst forms on the spinal cord. Syringomyelia can be caused by brain malformations, and complications due to physical trauma, tumors, hemorrhages, and meningitis. Symptoms include weakness and pain in the back, arms, legs, and shoulders. The patient will not be able to feel hot or cold sensations. Other symptoms include loss of sensation, difficulty walking, numbness, and loss of bladder function. Treatments include surgery and shunting.
Vertebra and Joint related conditions
Osteopenia, commonly seen in people over the age of 50, is the thinning of bone mass. Although, it is not considered “severe,” but it is considered as a serious risk factor for developing osteoporosis. The diagnostic for measure of bone mineral density helps differentiate between osteopenia and osteoporosis. Treatment usually includes medications that help increase bone mass, as well as lifestyle changes such as healthy diet, exercise and smoking cessation.
Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis) is a disorder caused due to degeneration of the spine leading to loss of normal spinal structure and function. Spondylosis can affect any or all regions of the spine including the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), or lumbar (low-back). Treatment such as acupuncture along with medications, spinal bracing, and lifestyle modification like exercising and maintaining a healthy weight can also help.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of progressive arthritis that affects the joints in the spine. Back pain and stiffness in the low back, buttocks, and hips, along with pain in ligaments and tendons are early symptoms of the disease. In severe cases, the affected individual will have difficulty in bending backwards and forwards due to fused vertebras. Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs), Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) Blockers, and physical therapy and exercise are effective in treating the condition.
Spondylolisthesis is a condition where the spine vertebrae slides over the bone beneath it. This usually occurs in the lower spine. Causes can be defective joints, or joints damaged due to infections or accidents. It can also be a vertebrae with stress fractures. Symptoms include back or buttock pain, weakness or numbness in the legs, and difficulty walking. For treatment, avoid any activity involving the use of the back. Use NSAIDs to relieve the pain. Weight loss, physical therapy, and surgery can also be performed.
Spinal fracture, also known as vertebral compression fracture, is when a single or multiple bones in the spine collapse. Osteoporosis and menopause are common causes. Bone mass can also reduce due to cancer, radiation therapy, and long term use of corticosteroids. Symptoms include back pain, dull chronic aches, which last for several days. Treatment involves pain medication, bed rest, and back bracing. Surgery may be required for broken bones.
Kyphosis refers to the clinical condition of excess curvature (greater than 50 degrees) of the spine in the upper back portion. Postural kyphosis is caused by poor posture and can be rectified by correcting your posture. If someone is born with defects in the spine, it is termed as congenital kyphosis. Scheuermann’s kyphosis is another condition where adolescents have spine growth disorder. Non-surgical treatment like c, medication and physical-therapy can help treat pain, stiffness, and other kyphosis symptoms. For abnormal kyphosis, surgery is the last treatment option tried after bracing.
Scoliosis is a spinal deformity, which refers the lateral curvature of the spine. The spinal curve is bent in an ‘S’ or ‘C’ shape rather than being straight. In children, scoliosis can take place during fetal development, or due to some neurological disease like cerebral palsy. Symptoms include difference in hip and shoulder height, and head is not centered with the body. Treatment for this disease is bracing and/or surgery.
An abnormal curvature of the spine results in a condition known as Adult Scoliosis. It can affect several areas of the spine, including thoracic spine, the lumbar spine, or both areas at the same time. The condition can be treated with several non-surgical methods including, epidural injections, facet injections, over-the-counter pain relievers, and exercises aimed at strengthening the core muscles of the abdomen.
Vertebral osteomyelitis is a bacterial infection of bones in the vertebrae. Although it can spread to other areas as well. Osteomyelitis is a rare condition, but can occur at any age. It is often treated without surgery through intravenous antibiotics for 4-6 weeks. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed for several months. Painkillers and bracing is also used to control pain. Surgery is recommended if antibiotic treatment fails.
Spina bifida is a disorder related to malformations of the spinal cord and its covering. The spinal cord or its meninges protrude through an opening in the back. Symptoms can range from muscle weakness, lack of bladder control, to loss of sensation, or paralysis. Surgery is the first treatment option. Shunting excess fluid from the brain into the stomach can also reduce the symptoms. Children will also need to learn to use crutches, braces, or wheelchairs.
Also known as sacroiliac joint dysfunction, this is a condition that affects the joints below the lumbar spine. The most common causes of sacroiliac is damaged cartilage in the joints. Pregnant women may particularly suffer from this ailment, as relaxing ligaments make the sacroiliac joints rub against each other. Symptoms include pain in the joints, groin, thighs, hips, and lower back. Treatments are oral anti-inflammatory injections, oral steroids, physical therapy, and surgery.
Muscle and soft tissue related conditions
Lumbago refers to sudden mild to severe low back pain caused due to exposure to cold-damp surroundings, poor posture, sudden movement, etc. Recommended treatments for lumbago include physical therapy,and medications. These days, use of multidisciplinary therapies such as spinal injections and alternative treatments like acupuncture is on the rise. Surgery can also be advised by your physician if needed.
Sprains and strains are caused by damage to muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Sudden uncontrollable muscle contractions, difficulty walking, bending forward or sideways, standing straight, and stiffness in the low back area are the symptoms of this condition. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are prescribed along with physical therapy, and ice and heat therapy.
Coccydynia is also known as tailbone pain or coccyx pain. The affected person experiences a disturbing pain in the coccyx region, shooting pain in the legs, pain in the buttocks and hips, and severe backaches. Pain that is markedly worse when sitting, and local pain in the tailbone area are also the symptoms of the condition. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ice or a cold pack application, heat and hot pack application, and physical therapy are recommended.
Back pain is a common ailment among patients, especially pregnant women. This is caused by weight gain, stress, and muscle separation, postural and hormonal changes. Exercises like walking, swimming, and cycling can ease the stress on the spine. Applying hot or cold packs can also help. spine manipulation can be used to alleviate the pain.
Flat back syndrome is a condition where the spine loses its natural inward curve near the pelvis, or the outward curve near the chest, or both, to become flat. Initially, patients with flat back syndrome may be treated with non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medication and endurance exercise program as well as physical-therapy. However, if the non-surgical treatments are ineffective, reconstructive spinal surgery may be advised by your doctor.
Disc & nerve related conditions
The herniation (or bulging out) of the inner core of a cervical disc situated in the neck region leading to pinching of a cervical nerve is diagnosed as cervical herniated disc. The pain associated with this condition varies in accordance with the location of the herniation and pinching. Patients generally feel pain in their hands, necks, fingers, arms, and shoulders. For immediate relief, patients will be prescribed anti-inflammatory medicines as well as painkillers. Long term treatment includes traction, physical therapy, and lifestyle modification.
Lumbar Ruptured Disc occurs when the thick gel inside the disc in our back is forced out through tiny tears or cracks causing the disc to bulge or break. Home treatment such as rest, heat or ice application and exercise, can help reduce pain. . Physical therapy and medications can also help. Surgery is suggested if nerve damage is diagnosed or the pain hasn’t reduced even after 4 weeks of nonsurgical treatment.
It is a condition affecting intervertebral discs. As you age, the spinal disc will tear and wear, lose flexibility, elasticity, and shock-absorbing characteristics. Difficulty in bending, lifting, and twisting, pain in the neck, lower back, buttocks, and thighs, numbness and tingling in the extremities are the symptoms of the condition. Acupuncture, back braces, conservative medical care, electrotherapy, physical therapy are recommended to treat the condition.
Sciatica is an ailment that affects the sciatic nerve, which is located near the lumbar spine, and runs down the back of the legs. The cause of this condition is irritation of the roots of the lumbar spine. Other causes include lumbar spinal stenosis, pregnancy, spondylolisthesis, and degenerative disc disease. Symptoms range from weakness, shooting pain, numbness, to pain in the legs, and the body’s posterior. Treatments for sciatica include bed rest, pain medications, applying or cold packs, and epidural injections.
Pinched nerve refers to a nerve being compressed. This is caused by pressure placed on a body part. Symptoms include pain in the compressed area, numbness, pins and needles, burning sensation, and swelling. Simple treatment can be resting the injured body part, and not performing activities that aggravate the symptoms. NSAIDs and steroid injections can reduce the swelling. Physical therapy can strengthen the muscles. A splint can be used to rest the body part.
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