Arachnoiditis
Arachnoiditis is an inflammatory response of the arachnoid, one of three coverings, or meninges, that envelop the brain and spinal cord. Arachnoiditis is a general term for several progressive regional disorders all of which result in the inflammation of parts of the middle membrane surrounding the spinal cord and brain and the space defined by this membrane (subarachnoid space).
Neck pain
is pain that occurs anywhere from the bottom of your head to the top of your shoulders. It may spread to the upper back or arms and may cause limited neck and head movement. Common neck pain is from muscle strain or tension. Individuals with minor neck pain may be experiencing the earliest symptoms of arthritis.
Whiplash
Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by the neck bending forcibly forward and then backward, or vice versa. The injury usually involves the muscles, discs, nerves, and tendons in the neck. Whiplash occurs when the neck is suddenly and forcibly bent backward and forward. This causes injury to the joints of the neck, known as the cervical vertebrae, and to the surrounding soft tissue.
Herniated disc
A herniated disc is a common cause of lower back pain. Disks are round, flat, plate-like structures between the vertebrae (back bones) in the spinal column. They have a tough covering over a soft, gelatinous inside (nucleus pulposus), and their purpose is to cushion the back bones and allow the back to flex. A hernia is a tear in the covering of the disc that allows the soft interior to bulge out.
Kyphosis
Kyphosis is the extreme curvature of the upper back also known as a hunchback. Kyphosis is a spinal deformity that can result from trauma, developmental problems, or degenerative disease. Kyphosis can occur at any age, although it is rare at birth. Kyphosis is a flexed curvature of the spine in a sagittal plane, as is present normally in the thoracic and sacral regions.
Lordosis
Lordosis is an increased curvature of the normally curved lumbar spine. Lordosis is a curve in the spine in a sagittal plane, convexity forwards. A certain amount of lordosis is normal in the lumbar and cervical regions of the spine. Loss of the normal lumbar lordosis may be a sign of ankylosing spondylitis or paravertebal muscle spasm. Also known as swayback.
Scoliosis
Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine. In most cases this curvature develops during childhood and adolescence. The spinal column curves and twists, rotating the rib cage as it does so and eventually causes changes to the spine, chest and pelvis. A slight curve of the spine is a common condition. Scoliosis may result from a birth defect or develop later in life, most often in adolescence.
Spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the spinal canal caused by excessive growth of bone and/or thickening of tissue, which reduces the size of the openings in the spinal bones (vertebrae). This narrowing can squeeze and irritate the spinal nerve roots where they leave the spinal cord or the spinal cord itself. The disease and its effects are similar to stenosis in the lower spine.
Torticollis
Torticollis (cervical dystonia or spasmodic torticollis) is a type of movement disorder, in which the muscles controlling the neck cause sustained twisting or frequent jerking. Torticollis may cause permanent facial deformity if it is not resolved in the first year. Torticollis may occur without known cause (idiopathic), be genetic (inherited), or be acquired secondary to damage to the nervous system or muscles.
Back pain
Back pain is one of humanity's most frequent complaints and does not usually reflect any underlying disease. The most common type of back pain is lower back pain. That's because the lower portion of the back is under the most pressure when a person is sitting or lifting, and it can be easily damaged. Lower back pain is often triggered by some combination of overuse, muscle strain, or injury to the muscles and ligaments that support the spine.
Disk herniation
Disk herniation is one of the most common conditions of the spine. Other terms used to describe herniation include fragment, protrusion, bulge, and/or sequestration. Herniation can occur in any segment of the spine, although is most common in the lumbar spine followed by the cervical then the thoracic spine. Symptoms of a disk herniation include numbness/tingling, weakness, and pain. The term radiculopathy refers to the pain in a band-like distribution down the extremity. This pain is due to the compression of one or more nerve roots by the herniated disk.
Disk herniations are very common in the population. In fact, many patients who have herniations often do not have symptoms (are asymptomatic). Therefore, the most important decision-making step in treatment is to determine the exact symptoms that the herniation is causing. Surgeons can often predict which herniations are symptomatic because each nerve root that is being compressed causes a specific distribution of pain. Your doctor must match the distribution of the pain and any weakness with the nerve root being compressed on the MRI. For instance, a L5/S1 disk herniation typically compresses the S1 nerve root and can lead to pain in the buttock, back of the thigh and calf, and bottom of the foot. In addition, patients may have weakness in foot plantar flexion (ability to stand on the toes). If a disk herniation is determined to be symptomatic, then multiple treatment options are available. Surgery is one of many treatment options.
Myelopathy
Central canal stenosis of the cervical spine can cause compression of the spinal cord and result in myelopathy. Symptoms of myelopathy include numbness, weakness, and pain in the hands. With severe myelopathy, patients can develop bladder and bowel incontinence as well as weakness in the legs.
Radiculopathy
Radiculopathy refers to pain in the extremities (either arms or legs) as a result of compression of a single or multiple nerve roots. Symptoms include pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the extremities. Common causes of radiculopathy include disk herniations and bone spurs. Radiculopathy is commonly referred to as sciatica when the nerve root being compressed is the sciatic nerve.
Facet arthrosis (degeneration)
Facet joints undergo degeneration and can cause back or neck pain. Pain is often increased with extension of the neck (or back), standing or activity.
Degenerative disk disease (DDD)
DDD refers to dehydration and degeneration of the disk spaces. On MRI imaging, disks become dark, decrease in height, and can develop Modic changes (inflammation surrounding the disks). Symptoms, including back (or neck) pain, are often associated with sitting and activity.
Osteomyelitis/diskitis
Infection of the disk (diskitis) or vertebral body (osteomyelitis) can cause pain, fever, weakness, or neurologic injury with subsequent leg and/or arm weakness. Causes of infection include bacteria, fungus, and tuberculosis.
Sciatica
See definition for radiculopathy.
Tumor
Metastatic Tumors that originate elsewhere in the body then travel to the spine are called metastatic. Often the tumor seeds the vertebral body and can cause pain, fracture, and spinal cord or nerve compression. Common metastatic tumors to the spine include breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers.
Primary tumors (originate in the structures of the spine) include schwannomas, neurofibromas, ependymomas, and chordomas. Such tumors can be benign or malignant.
Flatback syndrome
Flatback syndrome refers to loss of lumbar lordosis. Normally, the lumbar spine has a gentle backwards sway of approximately 40 degrees. When lordosis is lost, the lumbar spine straightens. Symptoms include back pain and a forward tilt of the upper back and head. Often patients have to bend the hips and knees in order to stand and look upright (see figure). If severe, the normal lordosis of the lumbar spine can be reversed into abnormal kyphosis.
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)
AS is an inflammatory condition of the spine that causes autofusion and straightening of the spine. Symptoms include pain and deformity in the spine. AS patients also are susceptible to osteoporosis and fractures.
Spondylolisthesis
Spondylolisthesis is subluxation (slippage) of one vertebral body on another. Typically the subluxation is due to degenerative (arthritis) changes, but subluxation can also be due to trauma, spondylolysis (pars defect), or uncommonly tumor or infection. The degree of slippage is graded from 1-4. Symptoms include back (or neck) pain and radiculopathy. Treatment is typically a fusion procedure (TLIF, XLIF, or ALIF), but a micro-decompression can sometimes be performed for a patient with predominantly radiculopathy symptoms (arm or leg pain).