Diseases of the Spine

The spine is a vital part of human anatomy. The 26 bony discs of the spine protect the spinal cord, keep the body upright, and allow for bending. Unfortunately, this vital structure is vulnerable and may be damaged by a number of conditions.

The following is a small sampling of some disease that may occur in the spine.

  • Degenerative Disc Disease – This is the normal breakdown of the spongy discs separating the vertebrae (bones of the spine) as aging occurs. This may result in pain in the back or neck. It may ultimately lead to osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis.

  • Spinal Stenosis – Spinal stenosis is the gradual narrowing of the opening in the spinal column through which the spinal cord runs.

  • Myelopathy – Actually a complication of other spinal disorders, myelopathy is the gradual loss of nerve function.

  • Kyphosis – Deviating from the ideal natural curvature of the spine, kyphosis refers to an exaggerated outward curve of the thoracic spine.

  • Lordosis – Another deviation of the ideal curvature of the spine, lordosis is an exaggerated inward curve of the lumbar spine.

  • Scoliosis – Scoliosis is the curving of the spine to the side. This often causes that spine to have a C shape or an S shape when the patient is viewed from the back.

  • Sciatica – The irritation of the sciatic nerve, found in the lower back, may cause tingling, burning, or numbness in the legs. It is often the result of an existing injury or condition, such a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, arthritis, or even pregnancy.

  • Spondylolisthesis – Whether caused by injury or genetic predisposition, spondylolisthesis is the slipping forward of one vertebrae. This most often occurs in the lumbar region.

  • Radiculopathy – This is a disease of the roots of the spinal nerves. Depending on the location of the damage, it may cause pain in the lower back and legs or the neck and arms.


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