More than 31 million visits were made to physician offices in 2003 because of back problems (Source: National Center for Health Statistics; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2003 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.) Eight out of 10 people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Low back pain is one of the most frequent problems treated by orthopaedic surgeons.
- Low Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Herniated Disc
- Degenerated Disc Disease
- Spinal Stenosis
Low Back Pain
Low back pain can often be attributed to complex origins and symptoms, and it does not discriminate. It can originate from identified muscle trauma, or an unknown non-traumatic event. Low back pain can also begin in other regions of the body and eventually attack the muscles or other structures in the lower back. Sometimes low back pain can even begin in the nerves or nervous system. Other origins for low back pain are postneural difficulties, congenital disorders, trauma, infections, degenerative disorders, inflammatory diseases, circulatory disorders or any of other 30 additional causes.
The neck is an extremely flexible part of the body. The bones in the neck (called the cervical spine) allow more motion than other parts of the spine. However, because it is less protected than the rest of the spine, the neck can be vulnerable to injury and to disorders that produce pain and restrict motion. For many people, neck pain is a temporary condition that disappears with time. Others need medical diagnosis and treatment to relieve their symptoms.
Herniated discs are usually diagnosed via a qualified physical examination. However, often times, additional testing such as an MRI or a CT scan will help confirm the herniated disc or rule out other health issues that may be causing these symptoms.
Everyone’s spine has natural curves. These curves round our shoulders and make our lower back curve slightly inward. But some people have spines that also curve from side to side. Unlike poor posture, these curves can’t be corrected simply by learning to stand up straight.
This condition of side-to-side spinal curves is called scoliosis. On an X-ray, the spine of an individual with scoliosis looks more like an “S” or a “C” than a straight line. Some of the bones in a scoliotic spine also may have rotated slightly, making the person’s waist or shoulders appear uneven.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Age, injury, and disease can cause the discs between the vertebrae to become weak and damaged. When this happens, there’s a risk of herniation, which can cause pain, numbness, and disability. The latest treatments can help patients with degenerative disc disease address this concern and restore function and comfort.
A narrowing of the spinal canal can cause pressure on the spinal cord, a condition known as myelopathy. This narrowing can happen due to the natural process of aging or as a result of a number of spinal conditions, such as a herniated disc. We offer a range of advanced options to reduce the discomfort and dysfunction associated with myelopathy.
More a symptom than a condition, radiculopathy is a “pinched” nerve, which can occur from a wide range of spinal conditions, including herniated disc, myelopathy, bone spurs, and other issues. The treatment will depend on the cause, and our experienced team can identify the originating issue and help patients restore function and reduce pain.
Like myelopathy, spinal stenosis is a type of spinal canal narrowing, one that is often caused by injury or trauma but may also come from degeneration of any part of the spine. Symptoms will vary depending on which area of the spine is affected, but stability issues, numbness, and other forms of disability are not uncommon. Non-surgical methods are often very helpful for patients with spinal stenosis.
A condition where a vertebra “slips” or becomes displaced with varying degrees of severity. This causes the spine to become misaligned and can lead to serious concerns, including lower back pain, upper leg pain, hypersensitive nerves near the affected area, and muscle stiffness and tightness. If left untreated, neurological impairment and reduced lung capacity may result. Several types of spondylolisthesis can occur, each with different causes. These include:
- Isthmic: A congenital disorder that develops in children between the ages of 5 and 17. Non-surgical treatment is offered unless the displacement is severe, in which case surgery may be necessary.
- Degenerative: Typically caused by the natural process of aging and arthritis, this form of spondylolisthesis is a gradual wearing down of the various tissues, which eventually leads to a vertebral slip.
- Dysplastic: A rare congenital defect that derives from developmental issues, usually on the lower spine where the lumbar spine and sacrum (tailbone) meet.
- Traumatic: Another unusual condition, traumatic spondylolisthesis occurs when fractures occur to the joints that allow the spine to bend and flex.
- Pathologic: This type of displacement only occurs as a result of certain, very rare, metabolic bone diseases.
The appropriate type of treatment for spondylolisthesis will depend on several factors, including the type of spondylolisthesis, the level of pain and/or disability, the patient’s overall health, and others. Most forms of this condition can be treated non-surgically. More severe instances may require surgical correction, such as fusion, discectomy, laminectomy, or another technique. Minimally invasive methods will be used whenever possible, although sometimes the unique structure of the anatomy will make this difficult or impossible. Our extensively trained surgeons will review your options during your initial consultation.