Neck and Back Doctors
Fractures in the neck and back are treated very seriously. A fracture in the spine can lead to paralysis or death. For this reason, these injuries typically warrant an emergency response. Most initial treatment measures do not call for surgery. Rest, pain medication, and braces and/or casts usually round out the treatment for these injuries. Other injuries that can occur in the neck and back include neck sprains and herniated disks. A herniated disk is when the disk “slips” or “ruptures”, meaning that the soft nucleus of the disk begins pushing against the outer ring. Between 60%-80% of people will experience lower back pain in their lives, and most of these individuals experience this pain because of a herniated disk. Although this can be very painful, most people feel better after a few weeks’ rest and don’t require surgery.
A herniated disk is when the jelly-like nucleus pushes against the outer ring of the spine. The pressure this puts on the spine can cause back pain. The pressure a herniated disk causes on the spinal cord may also cause pain, numbness, and weakness in one or both legs, this condition is called sciatica.
A herniated disk is usually cause be regular wear and tear on the body that comes with age in a process called disk degeneration. A herniated disk can also be caused by traumatic injury while playing sports, everyday activities like a fall, lifting heavy objects with the back instead of the legs, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Initial treatment for a herniated disk is typically non surgical. Patients are usually told to rest, take anti-inflammatory drugs, and specific exercises to strengthen the lower back.
Some patients may require surgery if nonsurgical treatment is ineffective and symptoms like muscle weakness, difficulty walking, and loss of bladder or bowel control persist. In this case a microdiscectomy will be performed. In this surgery the herniated part of the disk and additional fragments that put pressure onto the spinal nerve are removed.
Pondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis
Pondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis are common causes of low pack pain in children and adolescents. This condition is caused by a weakness or stress fracture in one of the vertebrae, which are the bones that make up the spinal column. Stress fractures can occur in the spinal vertebrae and this specific condition refers to the stress fractures specifically in one of these small vertebrae.
This condition is inclined to occur in up to 5% of the children age 6 without a previously known injury. The condition known as spondylolisthesis occurs when a stress fracture weakens the bone so much that the bone is unable to maintain it’s proper position in the spine and is a common injury associated with adolescents who participate in sports such as gymnastics, football, and weightlifting.
Physical therapy treatments are recommended for this condition such as muscle strengthening or a brace to support the spine.
Cervical Disk Degeneration
Cervical Disk Degeneration or Cervical degenerative disc disease refers to the condition in which a person experiences neck or radiating arm pain when one or more of the cushioning discs in the cervical spine start to break down due to the wear and tear.
This condition is a common cause of radial arm and neck pain. We refer to the condition as such when on or more of the cushioning discs in the spine start to break down or wear from age and use. It causes discomfort in the spine in which it is diagnosed as symptomatic.
Treatments for Cervical Disk Degeneration include rest, targeted exercises through physical therapy, weight loss, anti-inflammatory medications or injections, and heat/cold therapies.