The spine is a complicated structure of vertebrae, ligaments, and nerves that is prone to a variety of injuries and conditions. Maintaining a healthy, strong spine is crucial in order to prevent further worsening other injuries that may be associated with the vertebral column, and that can include many things. Below are a number of common spinal conditions that can develop overtime, and the proper forms of treatment for each.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Associated with spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease is a fairly normal part of aging. Minor injuries along with stressors in the back can gradually deteriorate the spinal discs over time. This causes instability within the column and compression of the nerves. The most effective forms of treatment for this disease are typically conservative rehabilitation and pain management courses. Deep tissue massages target spasms muscle tension that tends to build up over time, relieving pain, and stimulating the ligaments.
Any type of herniated, ruptured, bulging or slipped disc can be directly caused by an injury, repeated motion, or simply aging. Though physical rehabilitation and pain management are the most commonly chosen options for treatment, extreme cases may require surgery. Determining which form of treatment is best for you depends on the location of the herniated disc, the severity of the pain it’s causing, and any associated symptoms. Medications prescribed by doctors have seen success, along with physical therapy and manipulation like weight training.
Typically found in older women, kyphosis is an exaggerated rounding of the spine as a result of degeneration or osteoporosis. However, when observed in younger patients, kyphosis is typically found to be a result of poor posture or developmental issues like Scheuermann’s disease. Severe cases of kyphosis may include fractures in the vertebrae, requiring a brace to correct the alignment and allow for proper healing to take place. Physical therapy and surgery are other common forms of treatment. Removing pressure from the nerves and spinal cord is key in treating kyphosis.
Irritation of the sciatic nerve, running from the lower back down each leg, is often caused by a tight piriformis muscle, herniated discs, stenosis, or tumors. Sciatica can be extremely painful in patients suffering from the condition, and surgery may be required in severe cases. Otherwise, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy are the most common forms of treatment, like heating and cooling the surrounding muscles, or epidural steroid injections.
This sideways curvature of the spine normally develops during puberty, over time as a result of arthritis, or as a birth defect during development in the womb. Most cases of scoliosis tend to be mild and easily treatable, but more extreme cases typically require surgery to insert rods, screws, and wires that straighten the spine over time. Physical therapy can stretch and strengthen back muscles to decrease curvature, but back braces and medical intervention of some sort is almost always required.