Spine, Back & Neck

Many of Spine, Back and Neck conditions can be treated through conservative methods, but some may require surgery to effectively relieve pain and restore function to the joint. Your doctor will decide which type of treatment is best for you after a thorough evaluation of your condition.
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Chronic pain is the type of pain that limits your ability to carry out your activities of daily living and affects your overall quality of life.  It is at this point that you should contact a specialist to diagnose your specific condition.There are many different conditions that cause or contribute to low and lower back pain. Some of these spinal conditions are listed below.

  • Bulging or herniated disc. A disc may bulge outward. A herniated disc occurs when the soft interior matter escapes through a crack or ruptures through the disc’s protective outer layer. Both disc problems can cause nerve compression, inflammation, and pain.
  • Spinal stenosis develops when the spinal canal or a nerve passageway abnormally narrows.
  • Spinal arthritis, also called spinal osteoarthritis or spondylosis, is a common degenerative spine problem. It affects the spine’s facet joints and may contribute to the development of bone spurs.
  • Spondylolisthesis occurs when a lumbar (low back) vertebral body slips forward over the vertebra below it.
  • Vertebral fractures (burst or compression types) are often caused by some type of trauma (eg, fall).

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), though not actually a ‘disease,’ is a term used to describe normal, expected changes in your spinal discs as you age. DDD sometimes takes place throughout the spine, but most often occurs in the discs located in both the lower back and the neck. The various conditions created by DDD sometimes places pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, which can result in pain that may affect nerve function.

You might have Degenerative Disc Disease if…

  • You experience mild to severe back or neck pain that limits your activity
  • Your pain worsens during movements such as bending, reaching, and/or twisting
  • You have numbness or tingling in your leg and/or arm

What is Disc Herniation?

Disc herniation is a condition that leads to issues related to the rubbery cushions (known as discs) between individual bones that comprise the spine. Disc herniation can irritate surrounding nerves and create pain, numbness, and/or weakness in an arm and/or leg. Fortunately, most people who experience disc herniation do not require corrective surgery.

*You might have Disc Herniation if…

  • You have arm or leg pain
  • You feel intense pain in your buttocks, thigh(s), and/or calf/ves when/if your herniated disc is in your lower back
  • You feel intense pain in your shoulder and/or arm when/if your herniated disc is in your neck, particularly when coughing, sneezing, and/or moving your spine into certain positions
  • You experience numbness and/or tingling
  • You feel weakness which may cause stumbling and/or impairment of your ability to lift or hold items

*Note that disc herniation symptoms can go unnoticed. Herniated discs can show up on spinal images of people who are unaware of a problem and do not have any observable symptomology.

What is Radiculopathy?

Radiculopathy is a condition caused by a compressed nerve in the spine that can lead to pain, numbness, tingling, and/or weakness along the affected nerve. Radiculopathy may occur anywhere in the spine, but is especially common in the lower back and/or neck areas. Radiculopathy is less frequently diagnosed in the midsection of the spine.

You might have Radiculopathy if…

  • You experience pain, numbness, and/or tingling in your arms and/or legs.
  • You experience localized neck and/or back pain
  • You develop, in a less common case, a hypersensitivity to light touch that is painful in the affected area
  • You develop, in a less common case, weakness in the muscles controlled by the affected nerves (which may be a sign of nerve damage)

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is leg pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness that begins in the lower back region and runs through the buttock down to the large sciatic nerve in the back of the patient’s leg.

You Might Have Sciatica if…

  • You have persistent pain in only one side of your buttock or leg (or, in rarer cases, in both legs)
  • You have pain that worsens while sitting
  • Your leg pain is accompanied by burning, tingling, or searing, as opposed to a dull ache
  • You have weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving your leg or foot
  • You experience sharp pain that increases your difficulty of standing up and/or walking

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is the acute and/or chronic inflammation of your joint, often accompanied by pain and structural changes which have various causes such as infection, crystal deposition, or injury.

You Might Have Arthritis if…

  • You experience joint pain and/or progressive stiffness that develops incrementally
  • You experience painful swelling, inflammation, and stiffness in the fingers, arms, legs, and wrists, which occurs in the same joints on both sides of the body, particularly while awakening

What is a Disc Herniation?

A herniated disc is caused by problems with one of the rubbery cushions, known as discs, between the individual bones that make up your spine.

You Might Have a Disc Herniation if…

  • You experience nerve irritation
  • You have pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg/foot
  • Pins and needles feeling
  • Uncomfortable tingling or burning

What is Myelopathy?

Myelopathy refers to any neurologic issues of the spinal cord. If caused by trauma, this is known as acute spinal cord injury; if caused by inflammation, it is known as myelitis.

You Might Have Myelopathy if…

  • You have upper motor neuron-related weakness, spasticity, or clumsiness
  • You have lower motor neuron-related weakness, clumsiness in the muscles located at the level of your spinal cord, and muscle atrophy
  • You experience sensory ailments
  • You experience bowel/bladder problems and/or sexual dysfunction

What is Disc Bulge?

Disc bulge causes the patient’s affected disc to bulge outside the space it occupies between your vertebrae, but unlike disc herniation, does not cause rupture. A bulging disc also afflicts a larger part of the disc than herniation. Disc bulge is more common and less painful than a disc herniation; in fact, pain in a bulging disc may not be noticeable at all.

You Might Have Disc Bulge if…

  • You have muscle weakness, numbness, or tingling in one or both legs
  • You have increased reflexes in one or both legs that result in spasticity
  • You experience bladder and/or bowel dysfunction
  • You experience paralysis from the waist down
  • You have pain when moving your neck
  • You experience deep pain close to or above your shoulder blade
  • You have radiating pain in your upper arm, forearm, and/or fingers

What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is an abnormality that causes the narrowing of a body channel, specifically of the bone channel in which the spinal nerves and/or spinal cord are located.

You Might Have Spinal Stenosis if…

  • You experience erratic, inconsistent bouts of spinal pain
  • The onset of your pain increases and is more noticeable during such activities as walking and biking (while holding your head upright), or while in an upright standing position
  • Your pain is relieved by rest (sitting or lying down) and/or any flexed forward position

What is a Pinched Nerve?

A pinched nerve is a condition that develops when one of your nerve extensions begins to become compressed, often as a result of repetitive motions. Damage from a pinched nerve can range from minor to severe, and may cause temporary or long-term problems. In some cases, damage from a pinched nerve is irreversible. However, treatment usually provides relief from pain and other symptoms.

You Might Have a Pinched Nerve if…

  • You have pain in the compressed area, such as the neck or lower back
  • You have radiating sciatica or radicular pain
  • You experience numbness, tingling, and/or burning sensations
  • You experience weakness, especially during physical activities
  • Your symptoms worsen when you attempt certain movements, such as turning your head or straining your neck

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If you or someone you know is in pain, we can help. Take the first step and schedule an appointment.