The topmost section is called the cervical spine, the middle is called the thoracic spine, and finally, the lowest section of the spine is called the lumbar spine.
The spinal cord contains nerve fibers that pass along messages to and from other parts of your body. If you suffer an injury to your spine, it can lead to pain or nerve damage, which can be temporary or prolonged.
Common Spine Conditions
Many conditions could affect your spine and result in serious injury. Fortunately, it is possible to treat these conditions through a variety of surgical and nonsurgical modalities. Some of the most common spine conditions include:
A herniated disc is among the most common spinal conditions. Capable of affecting anyone regardless of age or activity level, a herniated disc can occur when one of the discs that separate the spine’s vertebrae bulges or ruptures. The ruptured disc material can then press against a nearby nerve root, resulting in pain and other symptoms such as tingling and numbness.
Spondylolysis is a weakness or stress fracture found in one of the vertebrae and can affect anyone of any age. This condition weakens the vertebral arch, which is at the back of each vertebra. When this happens, it leaves room for some of the bones to herniate. Injuries caused by excessive stress on the back, such as in sports or work-related injuries, can cause spondylolysis.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is actually not a disease at all but a condition that refers to the natural degeneration of the spinal discs as a person ages. A normal disc contains a gel-like substance, but over time the discs begin to deteriorate. Because the disc dehydrates, it becomes thinner and can lead to a loss of cushioning. This leaves the spine open to injury and can result in pain.
Treatment Options for Spine Conditions
Fortunately, there are a plethora of treatment options to manage and address the full spectrum of spine conditions. Initially, the physician will most likely recommend non-surgical treatments such as:
- Physical therapy
- RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation
- Corticosteroid injections
- Over-the-counter pain relievers