Spine Conditions

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Do you have a spinal condition that’s causing you chronic pain intense enough to interfere with your life or day-to-day activities? Are you afraid you’ll never be able to get your pain under control or that it might continue to worsen as you age?

 

Well, you’re not alone.

 

Many people with spinal disorders feel frustrated, confused, and helpless about their conditions. As many as 500,000 people suffer from some form of spinal injury each year.

 

The good news is that you can ease your concerns and fears by gaining a better understanding of your condition.

 

At NJ Spine and Orthopedic, we work to help you understand your symptoms, diagnose your condition and inform you of the various treatments. Below is an overview of the most common types of spine conditions.

Basal Joint Arthritis develops when the cartilage that pads the trapezium bone of the wrist and the metacarpal bone of the thumb wears away. A common complication of aging or joint overuse, basal joint arthritis affects millions of sufferers in the U.S. The condition, which often co-occurs with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, generates pain in the thumb, hand, or forearm.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Localized or radiating pain in the thumb, wrist, hand, or forearm
  • Stiffness, weakness, or immobility in the thumb and/or hand
  • Visible deformities in the thumb joint

Do you suffer from persistent and chronic pain in your neck, upper back or lower back area? Approximately 1-2% of the population have serious bulging discs. A bulging disc is a common spinal injury that occurs when the exterior layer of the disc, known as the annulus, bulges outside the space it usually occupies between the vertebrae, causing chronic pain.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Pain or tingling in the shoulders, neck, arms and fingers, signaling a bulging disc in the cervical spine area.
  • Upper back pain that radiates to the stomach or chest, signaling a bulging disc in the thoracic spine area.
  • Lower back pain and muscle spasms signaling a bulging disc in the lumbar spine area.

Do you suffer from chronic, crippling, or cramping pain in your hands or wrists? Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that occurs when the median nerve in the hand suffers compression. Your carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in your carpal bones (i.e. wrist) through which the median nerve runs. This key nerve supplies sensation to your wrists, hands, and fingers. When your median nerve is damaged or compressed, neurological symptoms of pain or loss of fine motor control can occur.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Pain or Burning in the wrist/hand
  • Neuropathy (or Numbness & Tingling) in the hands/wrists/digits
  • Muscular weakness, cramping, or loss of fine motor control

Your spinal column is made up of 24 vertebrae that are stacked upon one another. Coccydynia is a condition that causes persistent pain and tenderness in the last bone at the bottom of your spine, usually known as tailbone or coccyx. It is brought about by injury or strain to the muscles and ligaments surrounding the tailbone area.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Focal pain at the tip of the tailbone that gets worse when you sit too abruptly.

Do you find that you can’t move your back the way you used to? Disc degeneration may be the culprit. Disc degeneration refers to the gradual breakdown of at least one of the intervertebral discs found in the spine. It is typically associated with aging and occurs when the discs lose their flexibility, elasticity and shock-absorbing characteristics due to years of wear and tear.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Chronic back or neck pain.
  • Pain and tingling in your legs or buttocks.
  • Difficulty walking.

If you participate in repetitive actions or awkward sitting positions, you run the risk of losing the optimal alignment of the spine. When this happens, you’ll lose functional strength and your spine will be more susceptible to a disc tear. Also known as a slipped, herniated or ruptured disc, disc tear is a condition in which the external layers of the intervertebral discs that cushion the spine develop a tear.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Pain in the area of the damaged disc.
  • Pain, tingling sensations and loss of reflexes in the affected areas.

Facet joints are the joints in your spine that give you the flexibility to bend, turn and twist. Facet joint disease, also known as osteoarthritis, is a type of pain that occurs at the joint between two vertebrae in your spinal area.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Discomfort while leaning forward or backward.
  • Persistent pain and tenderness in the inflamed joints.
  • Pain that radiates into the shoulders and upper back.

Failed surgery is a generalized term used to describe a condition where patients have not had satisfactory results with spinal or back surgery and have continued to experience chronic pain after the surgery.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Sharp, stabbing pain at the affected areas.
  • Dull, aching pain in the back or legs.

The term “foramen” refers to an opening. The term stenosis refers to a narrowing. Thus, foraminal stenosis refers to a narrowing of the cervical disc space (opening) in the spine. It is mostly caused by a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease or facet arthritis.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Chronic and debilitating back pain that limits your daily activities.
  • Numbness, tingling, weakness, burning sensations and “pins and needles” in the arms and legs.

Did you know that the vertebrae that form your spine are protected by small, spongy discs? When your discs are in good shape, they keep the spine elastic and act as shock-absorbers. But when they get damaged due to overuse or injury, they may break or tear open. This is what’s called a herniated disc.

Herniated discs, just like bulging discs, can occur in the lumbar spine (lower back), cervical spine (neck) or thoracic spine (upper and mid-back).

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Dull ache to chronic and severe pain.
  • Numbness, burning and tingling.
  • Muscle spasms and weakness.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.

The hip is the third-most-susceptible part of the body to develop osteoarthritis, after the knees and the hands. Hip osteoarthritis is a degenerative inflammation that causes the breakdown of cartilage tissues in the hip area. With time, this degeneration may cause pain, swelling and even deformity.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Stiffness of the joints after sitting for a long time or when getting out of bed.
  • Pain, swelling and tenderness in the hip joint area.
  • Inability to move your hip to perform daily routine activities.

Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is not quite right. Lower back pain is often an indication that a nerve in the lumbar spine is being compacted or compressed and that pressure needs to be relieved.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Mild, intermittent discomfort to severe pain and disability in your lower back area.
  • Severe muscle spasms in the back area.

Morton’s Neuroma occurs when overuse of the foot causes the nerves that run between our toes to thicken. As these nerves harden, sufferers typically experience neurological symptoms of pain between the toes or in the ball of the foot. Individuals who participate in sports such as dance or running; those who wear improper footwear; and individuals who were born with sub-optimal foot anatomy (e.g. flat feet or high arches) develop this condition more frequently than the average population.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Localized pain in the balls of the feet or between the toes
  • The unshakable sensation that a pebble is lodged in your shoe
  • Limping to compensate for pain

Osteoporosis is an age-related condition that occurs when bone reabsorption outpaces bone reformation, leaving bones brittle and more prone to fracture. Although a measure of bone loss is considered to be a natural consequence of aging, osteoporosis results in excessively porous or fragile bones that fracture easily.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Unexplained or sudden neck or back pain
  • Bones that break or crack easily–particularly, affecting the shoulder, forearm, wrist, hip, and/or spine
  • Loss of height or kyphosis (aka “hunchback”)

There’s no pain quite like a pinched nerve. It limits your flexibility, restricts your motion and makes it almost impossible to carry out your daily activities. A pinched nerve usually occurs when the peripheral nerve becomes compressed as it exits the spinal column. This often causes chronic pain.

Other Symptoms Include:

  • Uncomfortable sensations and numbness.

Plantar Fasciitis refers to any condition that causes inflammation or injury to the plantar fascia of the foot. Your plantar fascia—a nerve-rich connective structure—extends from your heel to the underside of your toes. Responsible for cushioning the components of your foot from injury, your plantar fascia can become irritated when overworked.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Stabbing pain in the heel or the arch of the foot
  • Intense foot discomfort in the morning, that subsides with subsequent activity
  • Symptoms of foot pain improve (instead of worsen) with exercise

From top to bottom, down the full length of your spine, are nerves that exit through holes (foramen) on both the right side and left side of the spine. These nerves are called radicular nerves. In radiculopathy, a problem occurs when the nerves are compressed as they exit the spinal column.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Pain, numbness and tingling along the course of your spine.
  • Difficulty controlling specific muscles in your back.

Rotator Cuff Tendinitis occurs when the tendons that support your shoulder joint sustain an injury or suffer inflammation. In individuals under age 35, rotator cuff tendinitis usually occurs as the result of a traumatic or sports-related injury. In individuals over age 35, this condition often emerges as the result of chronic strain on the shoulder joint.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Localized pain in the shoulder joint, ranging from dull and throbbing to sharp and stabbing
  • Radiating pain that travels from the outside of the bicep to the top portion of the shoulder
  • Discomfort that intensifies while raising the arms above the head or when reaching behind the body

Sacroiliitis is a term used to describe any inflammation in one or both sacroiliac joints. Sacroiliac joints are found in the lower parts of your back where the spine connects to the pelvis and lower skeleton near the hip area.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Pain in your buttocks area.
  • Pain that radiates down one or both legs.

Do you suffer from radiating pain down one or both of your legs? Sciatica is a condition caused by a compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs down from your lower back to the lower extremities. Compression of the sciatic nerve is often caused by disc herniation, disc bulge or misalignment.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Radiating leg pain that quickly transitions into tingling and then numbness.

Bursae are tiny, fluid-filled sacs that protect your shoulder against accidental injury from the spinal tissues that support it. In the shoulder, your Subacromial Bursa sits above the rotator cuff and below a portion of the shoulder blade known as the acromion bone. Shoulder Bursitis occurs when the Subacromial Bursa becomes inflamed or swollen.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Stabbing pain that radiates down the arm affected by the inflamed bursa
  • Swelling, tenderness, or throbbing in the shoulder joint
  • Discomfort that intensifies while lying on the affected side of the body or when engaging in overhead lifting

The medical term for spinal bone spurs is spinal osteophytes, and they are tiny pieces of bone that stick out from the normal bone in areas where there is inflammation. Friction against other bones causes the production of additional bone cells.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Spinal bone spurs generally do not cause any symptoms, but in some cases there may be tingling, numbness and tenderness that radiates to the legs and arms.

Spinal stenosis, which mostly affects adults 50 and older, is a condition in which the space in the spinal column begins to narrow. For most people, stenosis comes as a result of arthritis. It has no cure, but various treatments and exercises can be done to keep pain at bay.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Pain, tingling and numbness that often radiates to your legs, arms and torso.

Spondylolisthesis pronounced (spon-dee-low-lye-sis-thesis) is a common injury that occurs as a result of stress or fracture in one of the bones that make up the spinal column. It’s a common cause of back pain in children, adolescents and athletes who participate in sports like football and gymnastics, where there is repeated stress and trauma on the back.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Acute episodes of back and leg pain.