5 Common Back Problems: Diagnosis and Treatment

Back pain problems

The spine is made of 33 individual bone called vertebrae stacked one top of others to form the spinal column. Your spine is the main support of the body, it allows you to stand straight, bend, and twist while protecting the spinal cord from injury. Strong bones and muscles, flexible tendons and ligaments, and sensitive nerves make a healthy spine.

There are various causes which can give rise to back problems. I would like to discuss the most common spine ailments which I see in our routine practice.

1) Mechanical back pain

As we age there is wear and tear which gradually occur in our body, which can give rise to mechanical Pain. Anywhere from 40% to 80% of the adult population has low back pain sometime before age 50. Ninety per cent of cases are a result of mechanical causes. Pain that is initiated and exacerbated by activity is a large category that includes lumbar strain, disc prolapse, spinal canal narrowing(stenosis), spondylolisthesis & spondylolysis.

Spinal canal narrowing

Most commonly seen in the elderly. The patient usually presents with complaints of back pain radiating to buttocks or both legs, consistent with activity, can present whether the patient is standing or has walked a short distance (which is called as Neurogenic claudication). Spinal stenosis is the condition which narrows the spaces within the spine and can be diagnosed through radiological tests like axial MRI or CT/myelogram.

Spondylolisthesis and Spondylolysis

These are common causes of back pain, with L5 the most common site of involvement. Back pain is the most common complaint of the adult population followed by claudication and hamstring tightness, probably caused by concurrent spinal stenosis. Approximately 20% have spine deformity that can be detected on physical examination.

Herniated Nucleus Pulposus or disc prolapse

It is a common cause of radicular pain in adults ages 30 to 40. Only 35% of those who present with a herniated nucleus pulposus experience sciatica. The pain is usually sharp-shooting associated with tingling or numbness. Diagnosis includes clinical findings consistent with the affected nerve root.it can also give rise to neurological deficits. MRI may be used to detect it.

2) Spinal trauma

Spine fracture

Spine fracture of a vertebra can cause bone fragments to pinch and damage the spinal nerves or spinal cord. Most spinal fractures occur from car accidents, falls, gunshot, sports, etc. Injuries can range from mild ligament and muscle strains to fractures and dislocations of the bones, to debilitating spinal cord damage. Many fractures are treated with conservative treatment; some may require surgery to realign the bones.

Cauda Equina Syndrome

It is a rare condition usually caused due to a large disc herniation in the lower back that compresses the nerve roots at the end of the spinal cord. Consult the specialist immediately if you have sudden back pain with numbness in the genital area, difficulty urinating, and weakness in the legs. Immediate surgery to relieve the pressure may prevent permanent damage and restore bladder and bowel function.

As medical science has advanced over the years the technique and protocol have drastically changed in spine surgery. With newer advances and evidence-based medicine, we are able to offer patient cutting edge technology in spine surgery. Now the world is moving towards minimally invasive spine surgery which gives the same results with a smaller incision, minimal local tissue damage, better cosmetically & minimal blood loss. Since the morbidity due to surgery is less therefore the duration hospital stay is also reduced which ultimately reduce the overall cost of surgery. Looking for the Best Spine Hospital near you then consult the spine specialist at Manipal Hospitals, Goa.

 

Dr. Sunny Kamat

Consultant Spine Specialist

Manipal Hospitals Goa

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