Of all the systems in the human body, undoubtedly the spinal column is one of the most complex. Within this complex structure is an intricate arrangement of vertebrae, discs, nerves, muscles, and ligaments. It’s that complexity that gives the spine its many functions. Of course, it’s also what makes the spine one of the most vulnerable structures in the body. And, even though spine conditions can occur to anyone at any time, especially due to injury, older folks are far more susceptible to degenerative spine conditions, which are medical conditions that develop over time. As we age, our bodies naturally have taken more of a toll as the years have worn on, making each and every one of us more susceptible to suffering conditions of the spine related to the years of stress and burden we’ve endured throughout life. Following is more information from spine specialists in Morristown and throughout the country regarding the most common of these degenerative spine conditions, including osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease.
True, the upper back does not cause as many visits to the doctor as the lower back does. Because less motion occurs in the upper than the lower back, this area of the spine does not usually see as much instability as the lower back. However, just because upper back pain tends not to be as prevalent as lower back pain, upper back pain can be just as disruptive and even debilitating. For additional help in answering any question related to upper back pain contact a top back specialist in your area today.
The upper back, or the ‘thoracic spine’ (which literally means ‘pertaining to the chest’) is less likely to develop the more common spinal disorders such as ruptured or herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, and spinal stenosis. These conditions can still, however, occur in the upper back, but are more rare. Because of the limited motion that occurs in the upper back compared to the lower, there is not as much risk of degeneration in this area.
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.
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.
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.