How much do you know about the spinal anatomy?
Most of the time, the way in which spinal conditions are described is very confusing for most patients. Even when they see specialists, they still may not understand what their condition is and how it relates to their symptoms. Essentially, most spinal problems are hard to explain and even harder to understand.
Regardless of age, athletic ability, or level of fitness, anyone could experience back pain. While sometimes it could be bruising or muscular strain, other times it’s a spinal condition that requires special attention and treatment. The most common spinal conditions are caused by diseases.
The rest are caused by spinal injuries to the various parts of the spine, including the vertebra, cartilage, disk, or surrounding tissues. So, what are the most common types of spine problems? Dig deeper into this comprehensive guide that will take you through a detailed look at each condition.
1. Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is by far the most common spinal problems with about 31 million Americans experiencing it at any given time. Back pain is so prevalent that it costs Americans about $50 billion in health care costs every year. Some of the most common causes of back pain include injuries, strain, aging, compressed fractures, and various diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis.
There are various treatments for back pain. Some of them include but not limited to medication, physical therapy, spinal fusion, facet blocks, laminectomy, and epidural steroid blocks.
2. Herniated Disc
The first thing you need to understand about the spine is that it’s made of bones known as the vertebrae. In between the bones are discs that act as cushions for the bones and when these discs are herniated, it means they have shifted out of their casing.
Herniated discs are quite common, and while some may not cause any symptoms or pain, others cause various symptoms. It could be anything from back pain, tingling sensations, numbness, muscle weakness, and pain in the legs and arms.
Most of the time, herniated discs happen in the lower back, but they can occur in the upper back as well. Apart from getting treatment, maintaining weight, exercising, and maintaining a good posture helps the condition. Of course, chiropractic care also works well, and you can contact this herniated disc chiropractor in Texas.
Sciatica involves numbness, pain, and tingling, which happens when the sciatica nerve is irritated. The sciatica nerve is located in the lower back, and various things can cause irritation.
They include arthritis, spinal stenosis, pinched nerves, or a herniated disc sitting on the nerve roots. Sciatica treatment includes medication, spinal fusion, epidural steroid blocks, selective nerve root blocks, chiropractic care, and sympathetic blocks.
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature or bending of the spine. It happens to be one of the most common spinal conditions, affecting about 7 million Americans. The condition goes from mild to severe and can be idiopathic, meaning it could affect anyone.
The one stage of scoliosis in most cases is during childhood and adolescence. Some of the most common signs include uneven shoulders, different ribcage heights, among others. Apart from these signs, scoliosis also comes with other symptoms, such as pinched nerves that lead to back pain.
The treatment options for this spinal problem include bracing, physical therapy, chiropractic care, or surgery. However, they highly depend on the extent of the curve and the patient’s age.
Osteoporosis is a common spine condition among seniors or older adults, and it usually occurs due to weak bones. It happens when bones lose mass, which in turn results in brittle and damage. This can easily lead to fractures, hunched postures, and collapsed vertebrae.
Most people realize they have the condition after they are already osteoporotic. The most advisable course of action is to eat a healthy diet full of Vitamin D and Calcium to strengthen the bones. Exercises, such as running and weight lifting, can improve posture, balance, and overall bone health.
6. Compression Fracture
This is also one of the most common spinal conditions for older adults because hairline fractures and cracks happen due to weak bones. If a person experiences many of these fractures or cracks, it leads to a collapsed vertebrae, also known as a compression fracture.
Osteoporosis is usually a major cause of these fractures, but people with bone cancer, those who smoke, or those with thinner bones are also at risk. Women over 50 years are more at risk compared to men. These fractures happen to be excruciatingly painful. Doctors treat them with medications, chiropractic care, and physical therapy.
7. Spinal Myelopathy
Spinal myelopathy is caused by the degeneration and damage of the spine. Essentially, what this means is that as people age, their bones become weaker. The components of their spinal cord change, which could lead to spine damage.
This spinal damage usually leads to numbness if the hands and legs, pain, loss of balance, tingling sensations, and muscle weakness. Most doctors recommend surgery to prevent the worsening and progression of the damages, but it may vary with each case.
Arthritis is a very common health condition, and most people have heard of it and know it affects the joints in the hands and legs. However, arthritis is the inflammation of joints, which can affect any areas of the body, including the spine.
Osteoarthritis is a spinal condition that happens when the cartilage and joints in the spine deteriorate. It causes pain and inflammation, nerve damage, and bone spurs. The best way to maintain it involves eating a healthy diet, exercising, lifting heavy weights, acupuncture, and massages.
The vertebrae are usually aligned in particular positions to maintain posture. When one of them slides out of position, it causes spondylolisthesis. This condition can squeeze the spinal cord causing pain and damages.
If you have this condition, you’re likely to experience various symptoms. You could lose your bladder control, lose control of your limbs, and have difficulty walking. This condition is usually maintained through the use of medications. However, physical therapy, weight loss, and core strengthening exercises also help.
Identify and Manage These Common Spinal Conditions
All these spinal conditions require special professional attention. A lot of them are treatable, and the rest are manageable with the chiropractic care, the right medication, or rehabilitation therapies.
Now that you understand some of the various spinal problems, if you’re interested in more interesting content, check out our blog. We have content about business, entertainment, family, shopping, real estate, money, and more!