One of the best ways to protect spinal health is to practice good posture. Poor posture is the root cause of many of the most common back problems. One of the easiest ways to make sure the intricate structures of the spine are kept healthy is to practice good posture. For many years people have thought of good posture as a simply cosmetic action, but it is in fact critical in helping reduce back and neck pain. Individuals who have to stand or sit in one position for long periods of time will find good posture and adequate back support to be very beneficial. Posture is a matter of developing a habit and when poor posture is the habit back pain and even spinal damage can occur.
When the spaces in the spine start to narrow pressure is applied to the spinal cord and nerves in the spinal canal. This condition is referred to as spinal stenosis. In most instances, the lower back or neck region are the areas affected by the narrowing of the spine. Symptoms can range from very mild to severe complications. Many individuals do not experience any noticeable symptoms but others may have pain, numbness, muscle weakness, or problems with bowel or bladder function problems. Spinal stenosis is commonly attributed to aging or regular wear and tear that occur over time.
When a nerve receives too much pressure, it is said to be “pinched.” Pain, numbness, tingling or weakness may be experienced when there is a pinched nerve. Many times, too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, tendons, cartilage, bones or muscles. Pinched nerves most commonly occur in the lower back and are a result of pressure coming from a herniated disc. Individuals generally complain of a very intense pain that radiates out from the back and down the back of the leg. The wrist is also an area where a pinched nerve occurs and this can cause numbers or intense pain in the hand or fingers. A physician can sometimes use some conservative treatment options which will offer a patient some relief in as little as a few days, but for many individuals it takes weeks to find relief. Some individuals may require surgery in order to relieve the pain and pressure that is caused by a pinched nerve.
Sciatica is a term for a symptom rather than a condition. It is basically caused when the sciatic nerve becomes irritated; sciatica is the tingling or pain felt in the legs that is a result of the sciatic nerve being irritated. Most individuals state that the sensation of sciatica is located in the lower back and then radiates down through the back portions of the thigh and continues to run down to just below the knee. This pain or tingling feeling is felt where the sciatic nerve is located. The sciatic nerve is rooted in the lower portion of the back called the lumbar cord; it extends through the buttock so that it can send more nerve endings through the lower limb. Another term frequently used for sciatica is sciatic nerve pain.
The term, “slipped disc” is commonly used for a spinal condition which can also be referred to as a ruptured disc, herniated disc or a prolapsed disc. It does not literally mean the slipping or dislodging of a disc, but instead refers to a spinal condition where a disc is protruding abnormally and made contact with nerve tissue. Usually a slipped or herniated disc is located in the region of the lower back, but any disc along the spinal column could potentially rupture. This also includes the discs that are in the neck region.
There are many spinal conditions that occur due to aging and facet arthrosis is one of them. Facet arthrosis occurs as the joints located in the spine start to deteriorate and the cartilage in these joints starts to wear away. The cartilage is a very important factor in keeping the back and spine mobile. Cartilage is a type of connective tissue that keeps the bones in a joint from rubbing together; it covers the facet joints and provides protection by intercepting friction or strain. As the body ages the cartilage can wear away and allow the bones in the joint to come into contact with each other. This can lead to pain, stiffness or bone spurs in many individuals.
How does a physician diagnose facet arthrosis?
When a physician or orthopedic doctor suspects facet arthrosis, they will usually order an x-ray of the area. In most cases, this will reveal any abnormal facets. In order to get a more thorough look, the physician may also order a CT scan. This will offer the physician or spine specialist a better look of the spinal structures. In most instances, an MRI will not be required in order to diagnose the spinal condition but when looking for various causes of back pain it may be useful.
A lumbar laminectomy is a surgical procedure that is also known as an open decompression. The procedure is designed to relieve the pressure that is on the spinal nerve or spinal cord by opening or widening the spinal canal. During the procedure, the lamina which is a small section of the bone on the spine is removed so that there is more room for the nerves. An open decompression, or lumbar laminectomy is typically suggested by a physician for those patients who suffer from back pain caused by neural impingement. The surgical procedure relieves the pressure by enlarging the spinal canal.
There can be many different risk factors for developing back pain; some of them are controllable while factors like genetics or again which predispose an individual to a specific condition are not. It is not uncommon for back pain to strike an individual that has absolutely no risk factors at all. However, in most cases there are some things that can be done in order to protect oneself. Of course, it is always advisable to discuss any back pain with your primary care physician or other health care professional who is knowledgeable about spine health.
One of the most common patient complaints is back pain and most of us will experience it at one time or another. The good thing is that about half of those who experience the discomfort of back pain will find relief in about 2 weeks; and nearly all will be relieved of the pain within 3 months time no matter what type of treatment options are pursued. Most of the time back pain is due to muscular strain which is resolved in time since muscles receive plenty of blood flow. A solid supply of blood will bring the needed proteins and nutrients to help healing occur. Back pain can be a minor irritation, or it can be very severe; for many it can be debilitating. For individuals under the age of 45, back pain is the leading cause of disability. It is important to see a physician if back pain is intense, limits your mobility, or cannot be controlled with over the counter medications.