Your spine and back are a crucial part of the entire body, and if not treated properly there can be a host of unwelcome health issues. The spine is extremely flexible, made up of strong bones, flexible ligaments, tendons, large muscles, highly sensitive nerves, and 33 bone discs called vertebrae. The vertebrae protect your spinal cord and allow you to stand and bend. Several problems can change the structure of the spine or damage the vertebrae and the surrounding tissue. The spine is part of the central nervous system, made up of the brain and spinal cord, and relies on the millions of nerves that relay messages to and from the brain to control the body’s functions.
Spine conditions and injuries can make even simple activities like walking or climbing stairs a challenge. Spinal injuries often cause pain when bone changes put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. They can also limit movement. Treatments differ by disease, but sometimes they include back braces and surgery. Here are some of the most common spinal injuries such as:
- Spondylosis: The wear and tear of the spinal discs
- Abnormal Curvature: Your spine’s natural curves help balance your body, however, if the curves become too pronounced, or if your spine develops a twist or an extra curve, it puts extra pressure on the vertebrae and discs.
- Scoliosis: A side-to-side curve in your back
- Degenerated Disc: Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is used to describe changes of the spinal discs, most commonly thinning, hardening and drying out. Disc degeneration can result from normal aging or wear-and-tear, but can start or accelerate because of injury, disease or unusual stress.
- Bulging Disc: If the outer wall of a spinal disc weakens, it may push out, or bulge, toward the nerves. This can cause painful nerve irritation.
- Herniated Disc: If the outer wall of a spinal disc tears (ruptures), the soft material inside the disc can squeeze out and press on nearby nerves. This can cause pain, numbness or weakness in your legs or back.
- Fractures: Vertebrae that crack or break can be caused by an injury, repeated stress or a condition like osteoporosis, which can make bones weak and brittle.
- Stenosis: Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal. Stenosis can press on the spinal cord and nerves, causing pain, lack of mobility and other symptoms.
Being told that you have a spinal disorder is often a worrying and stressful experience. However, one of the best ways to reduce your fears and concerns is to gain a better understanding of your condition. To help manage some of these disorders, there are both non-surgical and surgical treatment options.
Ways to Treat and Resting Your Spine:
- Exercise your core
- Correct your posture
- Support your spine, especially while sleeping
To learn more about spine injuries and how to treat them, call the Spine Academy of Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland at (410) 644-1880 to request an appointment.