Lumbar Spine: Conditions & Treatments


 

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disk Disease is simply the wear and tear of the intervertebral disc most commonly acquired genetically or due to repeated microtrauma to the neck or back. Degenerative disc disease most often leads to a broad constellation of symptoms including back and neck pain, shooting pain down the arms and legs, leg heaviness, difficulty walking and impaired hand dexterity.

Disc Herniation

Disk herniation, also known as a “ruptured” disk is a condition where the softer inner material of the intervertebral disk pushes through the tougher outer material into the spinal canal. A Disk herniation can occur spontaneously or can be caused by a traumatic event. A disk herniation in it of itself can cause significant back pain which in most cases self-resolves after several weeks. However when the disc touches or pushes on the nerve shooting pain down the legs (sciatica) or arms ensues and can be debilitating and require specialized attention

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within the spinal column, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. Some people with Spinal Stenosis may have no symptoms, while others may experience pain, tingling, and muscle weakness. Symptoms may worsen over time as Stenosis is usually caused by wear and tear changes in the spine related to osteoarthritis.

Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a condition when a vertebra slips out of place relative to an adjacent vertebra. This condition most commonly occurs in the low back and as a result of degenerative disc disease. It can also be due to microtrauma events or an acute high energy trauma event. Spondylolisthesis is most often asymptomatic, however in some circumstances, it can lead to back (dynamically unstable degenerative spondylolisthesis), leg pain and heaviness with standing upright and walking (degenerative spondylolisthesis), and/or shooting pain down the legs or “sciatica” (isthmic spondylolisthesis).

Compression Fractures

Compression fractures or a “crush” fracture of the vertebral body causing it to lose its optimal height. Such injuries most commonly occur in the elderly due to weakened bones or osteoporosis. People with this injury often report sharp pain localized in the mid or low back especially with activity. The mainstay of treatment is non-surgical with pain medications, medications to strengthen the bone, and physical therapy, however, when this fails there are minimally invasive techniques to help alleviate the symptoms.

Degenerative Scoliosis

Adult degenerative scoliosis is a form of scoliosis where vertebral rotation pulls the spine laterally, causing it to deviate from its normal position into an S or C shaped curve. Degenerative scoliosis is often painful, and if the curve is severe enough, it can restrict lung expansion and compromise breathing.

SacroIliac Joint Dysfunction

People with SI Joint dysfunction can experience pain and impaired function of the lower back and legs. It's important to note that SI Joint pain symptoms can be similar to those of other conditions of the lumbar spine, pelvis, and hip, and you will need an SI Joint examination to properly diagnose the origin of the pain.

Failed Back Syndrome

Failed back syndrome or post-laminectomy syndrome is a condition characterized by chronic pain following back surgeries. Many factors can contribute to the onset or development of FBS, including residual or recurrent disc herniations, persistent post-op pressure on a nerve, altered joint mobility, instability, scar tissue (fibrosis), and even depression and anxiety.

Facet Cysts

Facet Cysts are synovial cysts or benign lumps caused by a buildup of fluid in the joint capsule. The direct cause is unknown, but most likely result from degeneration and instability of the spine. Most patients have other degenerative conditions of the spine such as arthritis and disk disease. The cyst will clearly appear as a bubble-like growth near the facet joint, which is a connection between vertebrae of the spine.

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