Guard Your Back: 6 Common Spine Conditions and How to Prevent Them

Updated on June 1, 2021

Back pain is a serious health condition that you should not ignore. Some of these problems are caused by too much stress on the spine like when you carry heavy items. Others are as a result of old age, pregnancy or other medical-related conditions. 

You need to understand the cause of your back pain and the exert areas affected for you to get a proper diagnosis.

Besides back pain, you probably know little about other conditions that affect the spine. Here are common spine conditions and how to prevent them.

1. Associated Pain

Pain does not necessarily have to occur on the back for it to be back pain. The spine is made up of vertebrae which are separated by disks. The nerves from the brain pass through the spine to the rest of the body. 

When the spinal vertebrae are exposed to too much pressure which passes through the nerves, you will experience pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness. The feelings do not happen in the spine or back but other body parts where the nerves pass. 

Pain can be acute or chronic, depending on the amount of pressure. Acute can last for a few weeks and go away without any medical treatment. Chronic pain may go for months and can only go away with medical treatment.

Associated back pain is caused by degenerative disc disease, facet syndrome, hematoma, muscle strain, tumor, and herniated disc, among others. A person suffering from associated back pain can experience pain in the arms and legs, back pain, and neck pain.

Treatment depends on its severity and the cause. You can get over-the-counter meds to control the pain, injections of steroids, physical therapy, or braces. If the pain doesn’t go away, you may need to undergo a surgical procedure.

2. Spondylolisthesis Spine Conditions

This happens when one vertebra in the spinal column undergoes a forward slip. Injury or deformity may push vertebrae out of place. This occurs in the lumbar region and can put a lot of pressure on the spinal cord or the nerves surrounding it.

This condition is categorized further into two types. The first type is the degenerative spondylolisthesis which happens when the vertebrae lose flexibility. The second is the spondylotic, which happens when the vertebrae move out of place.

You may not realize that you’re suffering from spondylolisthesis until it starts affecting the nearby nerves. Common symptoms may include leg pain, numbness or burning sensation in the legs, lower back pain, and weakness in the legs.

The first treatment for the pain and discomfort are over-the-counter pain medications and physical therapy from a trained PT. If the pain doesn’t go away within six months, you will need to undergo surgery. The surgical methods include laminectomy and spinal fusion.

3. Herniated Disc

This spine problem happens when the vertebrae disks rupture or slip out of place due to strain.  This happens when the disc weakens putting pressure on the nerve and the spinal cord. You may then experience pain, numbness, weakness or tingling.

The condition is caused by overweight, ageing, picking up heavy objects and smoking. Common symptoms include neck pain, back pain, arm or leg weakness, bladder control problems, numbness, and tingling in the legs or arms.

These spinal conditions can go away with non-surgical treatment methods such as resting on the back, over-the-counter pain medications, and physical therapy. If the pain doesn’t go away, you may undergo surgical treatment methods such as traditional open, endoscopic discectomy, and minimally invasive.

4. Spinal Fractures

A spinal fracture is caused by the breaking of the bones in the spinal column. A spinal fracture is caused by osteoporosis disease or cancer that weakens the bones or makes them brittle. Other causes of these diseases of the spine include lifestyle, genetics, or weakening of the vertebral.

You may not feel when your bones get weak, but you will feel a spinal fracture. This can cause severe pain. Others may mistake it to muscle strain or normal back pain.

Common symptoms include sudden onset of back pain, back pain that worsens when you sit or stand, and back pain that goes away when you lie down. The pain can be relieved by minimally invasive procedures called vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty.

5. Spinal Tumors

Spinal tumors disrupt the communication between the brain and the spine. The tumor can originate within the spine or spread from other parts of the body. When you have a spinal tumor, you will likely experience symptoms such as back pain, coldness or numbness in the legs and hands, and muscle weakness or cramping.

Treatments for spinal tumors include surgical procedures aimed at removing or shrinking the tumor. This will prevent it from damaging the spinal cord further. In other cases, a patient may undergo non-surgical procedures such as chemotherapy, radiation, monitoring tumor growth, and medications that ease swelling.

6. Lower Back Pain

These are spine problems that affect most adults. Some ignore the symptoms with the hope that it may go away on its own. This condition of the spine affects the back below the ribs and above the legs.

Back pain occurs due to strain, overusing the back, injury, aging, and diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis.

Treatment for back pain may include over-the-counter medication, physical therapy, spinal fusion, laminectomy, and facet blocks. The treatment method may depend on the severity of the condition. Sometimes just getting a good mattress for back pain is enough.

Take your time to read more about back injuries so that you can understand yourself better and seek treatment as soon as possible. The more you understand your body, the faster it will be for you to get a diagnosis and get treated.

Find Help

There are so many back and spine conditions that result from different health conditions. Others include cervical arthritis, myelopathy, kyphosis, scoliosis, arthritis of the spine, and degenerative disk disease, among other spinal problems. 

If you want to learn more about various health conditions, how to manage them, and where to find reliable help, feel free to browse through our website. We have several blogs that can help you learn more and find help from certified doctors.

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