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Spinal Conditions

SpinalCordStim.com provides the most complete and trustworthy information on spinal conditions. All information on SpinalCordStim.com is physician written, reviewed and physician-approved. Within our spinal condition topic center you can learn about symptoms, how spine pain and spinal disorders are diagnosed and what imaging studies including x-ray, CT Scan and MRI are used during the diagnostic work-up. We also offer useful articles to help you have the latest information about Spinal Cord Stimulation and Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) Stimulation.

  • Adult Scoliosis

    Written by: Jeffery J. Rowe, M.D.

    Scoliosis is abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine meaning the spinal curve may develop as a single curve (with the shape of the letter C) or as two curves (with the shape of the letter S). In young children, preteens and teenagers scoliosis often does not have any noticeable symptoms which impact the individuals quality of life or activity tolerance and may not be physically noticeable until it has progressed significantly. The two most common forms are degenerative scoliosis (older adults) and idiopathic scoliosis (adolescent). Three treatment options exist approved by Orthopedic Surgeons for combating scoliosis: observation, bracing, or surgery.

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  • Ankylosing Spondylitis

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    Spondylitis: inflammation of joints of the backbone.

    Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis (causes inflammation) which primarily influences the spine’s vertebrae although other joints can become involved. This leads to severe discomfort and pain. The spine is subdivided into the following: neck (cervical), mid back (thoracic), low back (lumbar), sacral (sacrum and pelvis). This disease affects up to 2.7 million adults as per Center for Disease Control NHANES study. There is no cure at this time for this disease although there are ways to decrease the symptoms and pain with certain treatments and medications.

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  • Arachnoiditis

    Arachnoiditis is a debilitating condition characterized by pain and it is caused by an inflammation of the lining that surrounds and protects the spinal cord nerves—there are three layers that surround the brain and spinal cord and the arachnoid is one of these nerves. This inflammation causes irritation of nerves which causes the nerves to bind to each other in turn causing numbness, tingling, stinging and burning in legs and even muscle spasms and in severe cases can cause paralysis.

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  • Arthritis of the Spine (Spondylosis)

    Spondylosis is a term interchangeably used with the term degenerative joint disease as well as osteoarthritis and is also known as spinal arthritis which is very commonly known to cause tenderness, joint stiffness, swelling and pain. The pain typically is worse in the morning and gets better once the person moves around, pain can get worse at the end of the day and may feel better with rest. Spondylosis can affect entire spine which included neck (cervical), mid back (thoracic), lower back (lumbar) and/or low back-sacrum (lumbosacral).

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  • Back Pain (Low Back/Lumbar)

    Written by: Jeffery J. Rowe, M.D.

    Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek out medical care or self treat with NSAIDs or home remedies. Low back pain (pain associated with the lumbar spine) will affect approximately three out of four adults at some point during their lifetime. When discussing the condition described as “back pain” we are specifically mean pain that originates in the spine associated with the lower back (lumbar spine).

  • Back Sprains and Strains

    Most people will experience back pain at least once in their lifetime. Most of the time the pain is in the lower back (lumbar) because that is the region that takes most of the weight when a body is in motion. Back sprain are due to the ligaments (they are very tough and hold the bones together) are stretched beyond their normal length or are torn. Back strain attach to the muscle/tendon. A back strain or sprain can occur with exertive exercises whether it is twisting, turning or doing any movement in the back repetitively for prolonged periods of time.

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  • Burst Fracture

    Burst fracture is when vertebral body is severely compressed and/or broken due to traumatic injury. Falling from a height or being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be a cause of a traumatic injury. The vertebral body may be compacted due to heavy force being placed onto the spine which in turn can cause pieces of vertebra to shatter into the tissues and in worst case scenario, the spinal canal which could lead to paralysis. In order to decrease the amount of injury onto the spinal cord it is important to hospitalize and treat the patient as soon as possible. Frequently and depending on the presentation of the burst fracture braces, body cast or surgery are utilized for a good outcome. Even after the treatment the pain can continue and kyphosis (apparent outward curvature of the spine which causes a hunch in the back) can be the end result of such injury.

  • Cancer and Spinal Fracture

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  • Cauda Equina Syndrome

    Cauda equina syndrome is a uncommon but critical low back disorder that requires emergency and possibly surgical intervention. In the lumbar spine there is a bundle of nerves that extend down the spinal cord which in turn affect the sensation and movement of the legs. Because of the separation of the nerves into separate bundles with string like appearance the cauda equina looks like a horse’s tail.  This bundle of nerves in turn supplies the legs with signals to control the muscles and provide sensation. Symptoms of Cauda Equina include: limited or no bowel or bladder control, pain and sensation loss in the anal region, groin, buttocks and inner thighs, numbness/weakness that is along one or both legs as well as changes in sexual function.

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  • Cervical (Neck) Herniated Disc

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  • Cervical Radiculopathy (Neck and Arm Pain)

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  • Cervical Spinal Stenosis

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  • Chiari Malformation

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  • Childhood Scoliosis

    Scoliosis means curvature in Greek where the condition develops during childhood and the spine either turns to the right or the left. The spine does have natural curves in the area of cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions. The curves do work as shock absorbers for the body as well as distribute stress throughout the body. Depending on the curvature the abnormal rotation which can for example occur at the thoracic level of the spine can cause rib protrusion on the reverse side of the curve. In USA it is estimated that 3-5 out of 1,000 children will have scoliotic curvature that would require treatment and in the world there is 1% of scoliosis.

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  • Coccydynia (Tailbone Pain)

    Another term for coccydynia is tailbone pain or coccyx (this is the very bottom portion of the spine where three or more tiny vertebra are merged together but do have a limited movement –not completely fused) pain it is not very common and can cause persistent pain at the very bottom of the spine.

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  • Compression and Wedge Spinal Fractures

    Compression fracture (referred to vertebral/osteoporotic/wedge fracture) is a cause of back pain and is commonly caused by osteoporosis. A compression fracture is typically a reduction of vertebral height typically around up to 20% because of the fracture and can happen in any area of the spine but most commonly are in the thoracic spine in the levels of T10-L1. Other names for spinal fracture are: wedge fracture which is most common type of fracture (this is considered mechanically stable and rarely related with any spinal cord damage) in front of the vertebral spine where the rest of the spine is unaffected.

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  • Degenerative Disc Disease

    A very common cause of low back pain and neck pain is degenerative disc disease where a there is pain with weakness and/or numbness into the extremities. Degenerative does not always entail to the meaning that the symptoms will become worse over time but the disc can worsen over time and it is also important to keep in mind that this is not a disease but a state where damaged disc can produce pain.

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  • Degenerative Lumbar (Low Back) Spondylolisthesis

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  • Depression and Back Pain

    The depression connected with chronic back pain is termed as major or clinical depression. The type of depression that often accompanies chronic pain is referred to as major depression or clinical depression and is much more than what is termed normal sadness or feeling down.

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  • Discogenic (Disc-related) Low Back Pain

    Discogenic pain is pain that is derived from a vertebral disc that has been damaged, especially common is from degenerative disc disease which can occur as a person ages and not all instances will cause pain.

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  • Drop Foot/Steppage Gait

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  • Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

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  • Fibromyalgia

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  • Fixed Sagittal Imbalance

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  • Flatback Syndrome

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  • Foot Drop/Foot Drop Gait

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  • Herniated Disc/Herniated Nucleus Pulposus

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  • Kyphosis

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  • Lower Back Pain Topic Center

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  • Lumbar Herniated Disc

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  • Lumbago (Mild to Severe Low Back Pain)

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  • Lumbar Radiculopathy (Low Back and Leg Pain)

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  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

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  • Neck Pain

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  • Osteoarthritis of the Spine

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  • Osteomyelitis of the Spine (Spinal Bone Infection)

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  • Osteopenia (Low Bone Mass Density, Not Osteoporosis)

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  • Osteoporosis (Low Bone Density)

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  • Pinched Nerves (Radiculopathy/Neck and Back Pain)

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  • Pregnancy and Back Pain

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  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

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  • Sacroiliac Joint (SI Joint) Dysfunction/Pain

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  • Sex and Back Pain

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  • Scheuermann's Kyphosis (Scheuermann's Disease)

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  • Sciatica (Back and Leg Pain)

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  • Spina Bifida

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  • Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

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  • Spinal Fractures

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  • Spinal Osteoarthritis

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  • Spinal Stenosis

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  • Spinal Tumor

    Spinal tumor (can be called neoplasm as well) cells do increase in amount and a tumor is irregular growth of tissue. Tumors in the spine are either cancer causing (malignant) or noncancerous (benign). There is a chance that tumors can extend in various parts of the spine which includes cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back), lumbar (low back), and/or sacral (sacrum). Another term for tumor that has spread is metastasis (new irregular growth) and the potential for tumor metastasis is possibly in various areas of the spine or exterior of the spine which includes the breast of the lung. There are instances where cancer in the spine develops from a tumor origin in prostate, kidney or lung.

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  • Spondylolisthesis

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  • Spondylosis

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  • Sprains and Strains

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  • Stress and Neck and Back Pain

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  • Syringomyelia

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  • Tailbone Pain

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  • Upper Back Pain

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  • Whiplash

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