The spine, also called the back bone, plays a vital role in stability, smooth movement and protection of the delicate spinal cord. It is made up of bony segments called vertebrae with fibrous tissue called intervertebral discs between them. The vertebra and discs form the spinal column from the head to the pelvis, giving symmetry and support to the body. A single vertebra is made up of two parts, the front portion is called the body and the back portion is referred to as the vertebral or neural arch. The body is cylindrical in shape, strong and stable. Two strong pedicle bones join the vertebral arch to the body of the vertebrae.
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Back pain is often a common symptom of many disease conditions which range from simple or dull pain to sudden and sharp pain. If the pain persists for few days, it is an acute pain; whereas if the pain continues for more than 3 months, it is an considered as chronic pain. In most cases, back pain may resolve without any treatment, but incase if persists for more than 3 days, a medical intervention is necessary.
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The first 7 vertebral bones on the spinal column form the cervical spine and are located in the neck region. The neck bears the weight of the head, allows significant amount of movement, and also less protected than other parts of spine. All these factors make the neck more susceptible to injury or other painful disorders. Common neck pain may occur from muscle strain or tension in everyday activities including poor posture, prolonged use of a computer and sleeping in an uncomfortable position.
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Spine trauma is damage to the spine due to a sudden traumatic injury caused by an accidental fall or any other physical injury. Spinal injuries may occur while playing, performing normal activities, operating heavy machines, lifting heavy objects, driving automobiles, or when you suffer a fall. Injury to spine may cause various conditions including fractures, dislocation, partial misalignment (subluxation), disc compression (herniated disc), hematoma (accumulation of blood) and partial or complete tears of ligaments.
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Vertebral compression fractures occur when the normal vertebral body of the spine is squeezed or compressed. The bone collapses when too much pressure is placed on the vertebrae, resulting in pain, limited mobility, loss of height, and spinal deformities. In severe compression fractures the vertebral body is pushed into the spinal canal which will apply pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
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Spinal stenosis is the compression of spinal nerves caused by narrowing of spinal canal and it is one of the common causes of low back pain. The symptoms include back pain, burning or aching type of pain in buttocks that radiates to the legs (sciatica), weakness in the legs or “foot drop”.
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The vertebrae are cushioned by intervertebral discs which act as shock absorbers for the spine. The normal intervertebral disc is composed of a nucleus pulposus, at the center, surrounded by a fibrous ring known as annulus fibrosus. The nucleus pulposus is a soft jelly like substance that is well hydrated and acts like a shock absorber.
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Cervical stenosis refers to narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck region. This narrowing exerts pressure over the spinal cord resulting in neck pain. Cervical spinal stenosis occurs due to the narrowing of the spinal canal or the neuroforamen, in the neck region.
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Lumbar spinal stenosis is the compression of spinal nerves caused by narrowing of spinal canal and it is one of the common causes of low back pain. Spinal stenosis can also affect the spine in neck region. The symptoms include back pain, burning or aching type of pain in buttocks that radiates to the legs (sciatica), weakness in the legs or “foot drop”.
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Congenital scoliosis is the lateral curvature of spine that occurs in children whose vertebrae are abnormally formed during their development in the womb. This abnormality develops in the fetus at 4 to 6 weeks of gestation. It is present at birth and may be associated with other health problems such as kidney or bladder diseases.
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Adult degenerative scoliosis is characterized by side to side or lateral bending of the spine in adults. Degenerative scoliosis can involve either the mid-back and/or lower back region of the spine.
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Spondylosis refers to the degenerative changes in the spine that may cause loss of the normal spinal structure and function. Spondylosis can occur in the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), or lumbar (low back) regions of the spine. It is also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease.
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