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Spinal Issues THAT Can Cause Pain & Discomfort

Degenerative Disc Disease, or "DDD"

Your spinal discs act as a cushion to absorb shock between the vertebrae during movement. As a result of aging or injury, sometimes the spinal disc loses its cushioning effect which may result in a loss of disc height. This loss of disc height reduces the distance between the vertebral bodies and may cause irritation or pinching of the nerves. The spinal disc may also bulge or herniate, where the disc material contained within the intervertebral disc is pushed into the spinal canal. This may cause inflammation and pressure on the local nerve.

The loss of disc height and / or bulge of the disc may result in the following symptoms:
• Pain or discomfort in the neck or back
• Tingling or loss of feeling in arms or legs
• Shooting pain or discomfort in one or both legs
• Discomfort that worsens upon standing or activity

Spondylolisthesis ("Spondy" for Short)

Spondylolisthesis is a condition usually caused by an injury to the spine. Genetics may play a role in the likelihood of a spondy occurring in a person after a sport or overuse injury. A spondy is most common in the lumbar spine or low back and is described as one bone or vertebra slipping or sliding forward over the vertebra below it. This forward or anterior position may lead to the spinal canal or spinal nerves being compressed or squeezed.

Sometimes when a vertebra slips out of place, there may be no symptoms or a delay in the onset of symptoms. Patients with a spondy may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the low back or buttock area
  • Pain may increase with coughing or sneezing
  • Weakness, numbness or pain in one or both legs
  • Hamstrings may feel tight
  • Leg muscles may feel tight or weak
  • Patients may limp or waddle
  • Posture may change and the patient may lean forward
  • Trying to stand maybe painful or difficult to achieve
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control may occur

Spinal Curvatures: Lordosis, Kyphosis, and Scoliosis

The human spine normally curves to aid in stability or balance and to assist in absorbing shock during movement. These gentle curves can be seen from the side or lateral view of the spine. When viewed from the back, the spine should run straight down the middle of the back.

When there are abnormalities or changes in the natural spinal curvature, these abnormalities are named with the following conditions and include the following symptoms.

 

Lordosis

Some lordosis is normal in the lower portion or, lumbar section, of the human spine. A decreased or exaggerated amount of lordosis that is causing spinal instability is a condition that may affect some patients.

Symptoms of Lordosis include:

  • Appearance of sway back where the lower back region has a pronounced curve and looks hollow with a pronounced buttock area
  • Difficulty with movement in certain directions
  • Low back pain

 

Kyphosis

This condition is diagnosed when the patient has a rounded upper back and the spine is bent over or curved more than 50 degrees.

Symptoms of Kyphosis include:

  • Curved or hunched upper back
  • Patient’s head that leans forward
  • May have upper back pain
  • Experiences upper back discomfort after movement or exercise

 

Scoliosis

The most common of the three curvatures. This condition is diagnosed when the spine looks like a “s” or “c” from the back. The spine is not straight up and down but has a curve or two running side-to-side.

Symptoms of Scoliosis include:

  • Uneven shoulders or shoulder blades causing one to sit higher than the other
  • Uneven rib cage or hips causing one to sit higher than the other
  • Misaligned head or neck that may not be centered over the spine
  • Patient’s body may lean to one side
  • May experience back pain

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