SPINE, NECK & BACK PAIN 101
Back Pain Information
Back problems are common, yet never routine. They can be very painful and impact your health and well being. Each condition we encounter at New York Spine Institute is handled with careful, unique attention. We treat your spine problem as a priority, because to us, your health is our priority. We give you the most fitting care for your particular needs – care that’s founded on experience and sound medical principles.*
General Back Pain Reference:
Other Back Information
Neck Pain Information
Neck problems effect people in profound ways. Simple tasks you once performed with ease are now littered with pain and discomfort. This discomfort leads many people to have problems socially, at work, and at home. Don’t give up! Each condition we encounter at New York Spine Institute is handled with special, careful attention. We treat your spine problem as a unique situation, because it is. We analyze your specific lifestyle with exclusive medical expertise – care that’s founded on experience and precision.
General Neck Reference:
Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person’s spine is curved from side to side. Although it is a complex three-dimensional deformity, on an X-ray, scoliosis can appear unapproachable and beyond repair. Don’t be intimidated by the pain and deformity. Scoliosis is a relatively common health issue in the United States. This disorder can take years to develop, and if detected early is a simple fix over time. Using physical therapy and state of the arch treatment, you have the opportunity to take part in an interactive treatment that works towards your personal success. Our exclusive procedures ensure that you, the patient, receive only the highest degree of medical expertise. We’re to the point and we do not cut corners when it comes to your health. New York Spine Institute provides care for all types of scoliosis at their Premier Scoliosis Treatment Center.
Neck and back problems occur everyday to people of all walks of life. Lower back strains happen to be on of the most common injury in the United States. These injuries are very painful and can impact your health and well being, each condition we encounter at New York Spine Institute is handled with special, careful attention. We treat your spine problem as a unique situation, because it is. This way we can give you the most fitting care for your particular needs – care that’s founded on experience and sound medical principles.*
Arthritis is when the cartilage wears away between the joints. The most common areas, people experience this is in the hands, back, hips and knees. As this happens, people will begin to experience pain, swelling and stiff joints.
As we age, the normal wear-and-tear on our spine, can lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal. This compresses the spinal cord. Most individuals experience neck pain and stiffness, numbness and tingling in their arms and hands, clumsiness when it comes to simple tasks (handwriting, tieing ones shoe, feeding) and loss of balance.
Chordoma is a rare tumor that usually occurs in the spine and base of the skull. It is a malignant tumor that grows fairly slowly. It can spread to other organs, usually the lungs. It represents only about 1 percent of all malignant bone tumors.
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) occurs when the discs between our vertebraes begin to wear down, causing the vertebral bones to get closer together. As this process happens, the discs can bulge, which can result in compressed spinal nerves or spinal cord. Although this is a natural process in aging, certain situations, such as a car accident, can accelerate the process. As this happens, people will begin to feel back pain in the area of degeneration.
Degenerative spondylolisthesis occurs when a forward slip of the vertebrae of one vertebral body over the one below. As stated above in DDD, the loss of height along with increased stresses can cause the vertebrae to move forward. Individuals mainly feel this in the lower lumbar, where symptoms such as acute back pain and/or leg pain, numbness and tingling can occur.
Herniated disc occurs when the disc bulges out of its normal casing and into the spinal column. This can cause back pain due to the compression of spinal nerves and/or spinal cord. Most individuals have back pain and some can experience numbness or tingling radiating down the legs due to a compression of a spinal nerve. This is also called sciatic pain.
This is also known as “wear and tear” arthritis, is a progressive disease of the joints. With osteoarthritis, the articular cartilage that covers the ends of bones in the joints gradually wears away. Where there was once smooth articular cartilage that made the bones move easily against each other when the joint bent and straightened, there is now a frayed, rough surface. Joint motion along this exposed surface is painful. Osteoarthritis usually develops after many years of use. It affects people who are middle-aged or older. Other risk factors for osteoarthritis include obesity, previous injury to the affected joint, and family history of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, with symptoms ranging from mild to disabling. A joint affected by osteoarthritis may be painful and inflamed. Without cartilage, bones rub directly against each other when the joint moves. This is what causes the pain and inflammation. Pain or a dull ache usually develops gradually over time. Pain may be worse in the morning and feel better with activity. Vigorous activity may cause pain to flare up.
As we get older, our bones thin and our bone strength decreases. Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become very weak and more likely to break. It often develops unnoticed over many years, with no symptoms or discomfort until a bone breaks. Fractures caused by osteoporosis most often occur in the spine. These spinal fractures called vertebral compression fractures occur in nearly 700,000 patients each year. They are almost twice as common as other fractures typically linked to osteoporosis, such as broken hips and wrists. Not all vertebral compression fractures are due to osteoporosis. But when the disease is involved, a vertebral compression fracture is often a patient’s first sign of a weakened skeleton from osteoporosis. Individuals mainly describe back pain near the fractures. The pain often gets worse with standing or sitting for a period of time, and is often relieved by rest or lying down. Although the pain may move to other areas of the body (for example, into the abdomen or down the legs), this is uncommon.
Neck pain is a common issue that many people face. For the most part, neck pain can result in a few situations of stiffness or soreness, and eventually resolve on its own. But, there are a number of reasons why you may need to visit a spine surgeon for neck pain symptoms. These can include worsening of pain over time, pain accompanied by numbness, as well as tingling or weakness in the hand or arm.*
In most cases, mechanical issues and soft-tissue injuries are the main cause of low back pain. Injuries like this can result in damage to the intervertebral discs, compression of nerve roots and improper movement of the spinal joints. The most common cause of low back pain is a torn or pulled muscle or ligament. This can occur at any time when a muscle is stretched too far and tears, therefore ending up damaging the muscle itself in the process. When overstretching and tearing occurs, this affects the ligaments as well. Ligaments are what keep the bones connected together.
There can be many contributions to shoulder or arm pain, but the most prevalent for either is rotator cuff tendinitis. This condition stems from swollen tendons. Another common cause linked to shoulder pain is impingement syndrome. This is where the rotator cuff gets caught between the acromion and the humeral head. Referred pain (where another injury causes stress to other body parts) can also be a leading cause that affects your shoulder and arm.*
Sports injuries are what potentially may occur to an individual during sports or exercise. They refer to any injury that happens to any part of the body when playing sports. These injuries are often referred to affect the musculoskeletal system. Overuse, direct impact or due to the application of force that is greater than the body part can withstand are all causes of sports injuries. They can either result in being either acute or chronic injuries.*
Radiculopathies can occur from a variety of sources. The most common are herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, tumors of the spine, Osteoarthritis or spinal arthritis, compression fractures, spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis.*
Sciatica is pain that radiates from your lower back down through your legs when your sciatic nerve becomes compressed, inflamed or irritated. This nerve exits the spinal cord at the end of the lumbar spine.
Scoliosis is an abnormal rotation of the spine that can result from developmental abnormalities or severe degeneration. Typical this manifests as a curvature displacing the spine to the side, either to the left or right of midline. Scoliosis can affect both children and adults. Among children, it typically occurs closer to the age of puberty, and can be associated with symptoms like abnormal appearance of the trunk, difficulty breathing, chest or back pain. In adults, this spinal deformity may cause abnormal posture, back pain and possibly leg symptoms, if pressure on the nerves is involved.
There are many different types of scoliosis. Some of the more common include the following:
Idiopathic Scoliosis arises from unknown causes. This typically occurs early in life and can progress in around the time of puberty. It can also run in some families.
Neuromuscular scoliosis is when abnormal curve is attributed to weakening of the musculature that is supporting the spine or improper functioning of the nerves.
Degenerative scoliosis occurs in an older population and attributed to the wear-and-tear causing the disc breakdown between each vertebra and arthritis in the facet joints of spinal column.
Congenital scoliosis results from problems with the normal growth of the spinal column. It can be associated with the defects in other organ systems.
Scoliosis is easily diagnosed and more easily treated when recognized at a younger age. Treatment can range from simple bracing when it is diagnosed early to surgical correction at more advanced stages. Simple X-ray films can be used to measure the degree of the curve and monitor progression.*
Spinal Stenosis occurs when the space around the spinal cord narrows and puts pressure on the cord and spinal nerves. When the disks collapse anddevelops, your body may respond by growing new bone in your facet joints to help support the vertebrae. Over time, this bone overgrowth – called spurs – can lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal. Osteoarthritis can also cause the ligaments that connect vertebrae to thicken, which can narrow the spinal canal.
The most common cause of low back pain in adolescent athletes that can be seen on X-ray is a stress fracture in one of the bones that make up the spinal column. Technically, this condition is called spondylolysis. It usually affects the fifth lumbar vertebra in the lower back and, much less commonly, the fourth lumbar vertebra. If the stress fracture weakens the bone so much that it is unable to maintain its proper position, the vertebra can start to shift out of place. This condition is called spondylolisthesis. If too much slippage occurs, the bones may begin to press on nerves and you may need to prepare for spinal surgery.
Tumors of the spine can be primary or metastatic (spreading from other organs). Symptoms can vary from person to person with most common symptom of pain at the site of the tumor, other can vary from location or size of the mass and include fractures, numbness, loss of bowel or bladder function.
Diagnosis can be made using MRI or Computed Tomography imaging to access the involvement.*
Astrocytomas, Ependymomas and Hemangioblastomas. All arise from cells that compose brain and spinal cord or surrounding blood vessels; located commonly within the covering of the brain and spine. Composed of the soft tissue, does not involve the bone or cartilage.
Extradural tumors are found outside of the spinal cord covering, and is the most common type of spinal cord tumors. Can be malignant or benign and include osteosarcomas, osteoblastomas, and osteoid osteomas. These can involve bone cartilage and other surrounding tissue. Metastases spreading from the lungs, breasts, prostate, and kidneys are more most common cause of above mentioned class of tumors.
Intradural-extramedullary are masses arising in-between the spinal cord and its protective outer covering, include tumors like Schwannomas, and Meningiomas.
*The effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment will vary by patient and condition. New York Spine Institute does not guarantee certain results.