Herniated disc. Intervertebral discs are thin rubbery cushions located between each of 33 vertebrae (except sacral vertebrae that have grown tightly together). When the intervertebral disc ruptures, a part of it may protrude out of its physiological location, affecting the nerves that branch off from the spinal cord. Irritation of a nerve rootlet can cause sharp, sudden pain, tingling, loss of sensitivity or pricking sensations. Herniated disc can occur suddenly, for example, as a result of fall injury or frequently applying incorrect strain to the spine.
Degenerative disc disease. Spondylosis or osteochondrosis is a condition that frequently arises from age-related wear affecting bone tissues and related soft tissues. The intervertebral discs loose their elasticity with time and shrink in size. This is a very common problem that can affect every part of the spine. People with this kind of diagnosis usually experience constant backache with separate episodes of severe pain.
Several specific terms are used to characterise the location of degeneration in the spine: lumbago (lower part of the spine), cervical disc degeneration (neck area) or degeneration of the throracic or chest area discs. Usually conservative therapy is applied to treat this condition. Surgical treatment is necessary only in rare cases.
Stenosis of the spinal canal is caused by the narrowing of the canal inside the spine, causing pressure on the spinal cord and nerve rootlets. Stenosis usually expresses itself as pain, loss of sensitivity, tingling and weakness in the arms or legs. In more severe cases there can also be difficulties to control bowel movements and urinary bladder function. In such cases, immediate medical attention is needed.
Stenosis of the spinal canal more frequently affects the lower part of the spine and the neck area. In the case of lumbar or stenosis of the lower part of the spine, pain usually also radiates into the buttocks area of the legs. Stenosis in the cervical area frequently also radiates pain into the shoulders and arms. Generally these problems affect people over 50 years of age. To treat this condition, conservative therapy is usually chosen to provide temporary pain relief. Still, in separate cases surgical treatment is recommended.
Scoliosis is a frequently occurring type of spinal deformation. Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine, as well as mutual rotation or twisting of vertebra. The most frequently encountered type of scoliosis in 80% of all scoliosis cases is the idiopathic scoliosis. The reasons of this type of scoliosis are not completely understood. The second most common type of scoliosis is inherited scoliosis that occurs most often during the growth spurt in childhood. Scoliosis can actively develop during the childhood and puberty years, but the deformation caused by scoliosis typically does not progress afterwards. Still, such spinal deformities remain for the lifetime.
In the long run, untreated scoliosis can cause constant backache, as well as disturbances in breathing and the function of the heart. Scoliosis can be cured conservatively by strengthening the muscles of the spine, thus trying to further limit the deformation of the spine. Surgical treatment is sometimes recommended as the only way of stopping and correcting severely progressing scoliosis.
Fracture of the spine is usually caused by fall injuries or traffic accidents. Fractures of the spine more frequently affect people suffering from osteoporosis or participating in extreme sports. Timely undiagnosed fractures can cause disturbing, long-term health problems. Fractures of the spine create instability of the spine, severe pain and may damage the spinal cord, resulting paralysis. If you have suspicions about fracture of the spine, seek immediate medical help.
Inflammation of nerve rootlet can be caused by compressed sciatic nerve in the waistline part of the spine. It causes radiating pain in one or both legs and also can be accompanied by tingling, fatigue or loss of sensitivity. Sciatica is not a diagnosis but rather the consequence of herniated disc, degenerative disc illness, or stenosis of spinal canal. In the case of these problems, sciatic nerve can get compressed, causing inflammation of the nerve. Usually inflammation of the sciatic nerve is treated with analgesics, anti-inflammatory medications and physiotherapy. Surgical treatment is recommended in isolated cases.
Radiating pain in the arm can be caused by compressed or inflamed nerve rootlets of the cervical part of the spine. Pain can be felt in the neck area, head, yet most frequently people complain about pain or tingling sensations in the arms. Radiating pain caused by the inflammation of nerves in the cervical part of the spine is usually treated with analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy. Surgical treatment is recommended in isolated cases.