What Are the Most Common Spine Conditions?
No matter what their age, level of fitness, or athletic ability might be, everyone experiences back pain at some time in their life. If you are lucky, the pain in your back results from simple muscular strain or bruising after a fall. In other cases, however, spine specialists trace back pain to a medical disorder of the spine.
Typically these back and spine conditions are caused by disease, although some develop after an injury to the cervical spine (vertebra, disk, cartilage, and surrounding soft tissue).
Some of the most common spine conditions treated at Baylor Scott & White Orthopedic and Spine Hospital – Arlington include:
- Spinal arthritis or osteoarthritis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Facet joint syndrome
- Herniated disk
- Stress fracture
- Spinal stenosis
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
- Scoliosis (curvature of the spine)
- Kyphosis (rounded back)
- Spinal tumors (chordoma)
Injury can also cause spine disorders. Serious spine conditions can develop after a traumatic injury such as a spine fracture (to the middle/thoracic or lower/lumbar regions of the vertebrae). Complications can also arise from whiplash or a compression fracture.
Other spine disorders may involve malformation of the spinal column that is present from birth or develops in childhood. For example, some children develop a rounded back, or kyphosis. This causes poor posture and back pain. Anything above a 50-degree curvature is considered abnormal by orthopedic spine specialists. When the back curves vertically in an “S” or “C” shape, the spine condition is called scoliosis.
Low Back Pain May Indicate Spine Disorder
Many people see their doctors for low back pain, especially if it recurs frequently or lingers for an extended period of time. Pain in the lower back can often be caused by lifting something heavy, twisting awkwardly, falling on your back, or taking a direct hit during sports.
In some instances, low back pain relates to a problem with the disks between the vertebrae. Disk tissue can be torn and worn down with age. A herniated disk becomes squeezed between the bones of the spine, sometimes bulging out and pressing painfully on nerves in the spinal canal. Pressure on the nerves along the spine can result in numbness or pain in the legs (spinal stenosis), or pain shooting from the lower back to the hip and thigh (sciatica).
Spine Pain Tied to Degenerative Conditions
Degenerative conditions affecting the spinal column include spinal arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, facet joint syndrome, and scoliosis in older arthritis patients.
Aging naturally causes some degeneration of bones and joints in adults. But, as wear and tear takes its toll on the spine, arthritis can begin to increase pain and inflammation while decreasing mobility. Stiff, dry, bulging disks between the vertebrae are symptoms of degenerative spondylolisthesis. If joints and ligaments become weak, vertebrae may move out of alignment, leading to fractured vertebra (spondylolytic spondylolisthesis), compression fractures, bone spurs, or a narrowed spinal canal (spinal stenosis). Swollen painful joints along the spine may cause facet joint syndrome, which makes it difficult to turn or bend the neck and back.
Treatments for Spine Conditions Vary
All of these spine conditions and many other common causes of back pain can be effectively treated by orthopedic specialists or spine surgeons at Baylor Scott & White – Arlington. Physicians combine extensive experience with advanced diagnostic imaging tools and well equipped hospital facilities to develop the best spine treatment program for each patient.
Nonsurgical spine care procedures can provide excellent results in many cases, while other cases may benefit from orthopedic spine surgery. Treatment options can include minimally invasive spine procedures for fast recovery and rehabilitation.
Consult with a spine specialist to diagnose your back pain and find the best, safest and most effective treatment. Call 855-41-ORTHO for an appointment at Baylor Scott & White – Arlington.