Spinal Conditions

Click on the condition for more information.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak (CSF Leak)

A Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Syndrome (CFS Leak) is a condition in which the fluid held within the brain and spinal cord (CSF) leaks out of its protective sac, the dura. The dura is composed of tough and flexible tissue that surrounds the three outermost layers of the meninges. A tear in the dura may result in loss of CSF. When the loss of CSF is greater than its rate of production inside the skull, intracranial hypotension may arise, which can lead to severe headache and nausea, as well as possibly fatigue, myoclonus, tinnitus, tingling in the limbs, double vision or facial weakness.

Cervical Disc Herniation

Sometimes called a “bulging disc” or “protruding disc”, a herniated disc occurs when a spinal disc’s gelatinous substance protrudes, often into the spinal canal. The intervertebral discs act as shock absorbers in the spine, allow the spine to remain flexible, and absorb the weight of our daily activities. A disc herniation occurs when the fibrous ligament enclosing the disc tears.

 

Herniated discs most often occur in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (low back) spine. Disc protrusion can irritate the nerve roots of the spine or disrupt spinal cord function. Depending on the location of the herniation a variety of symptoms can occur. Herniated discs are almost always accompanied by persistent pain in the back or neck.

 

Those with herniated discs in the lumbar or cervical spine may experience signs and symptoms including:

 

● Persistent back pain

● Persistent neck pain

● Pain that radiates into the arms (Cervical Radiculopathy)

● Pain that radiates into the legs (Lumbar Radiculopathy)

● Sciatica

Cervical Myelopathy

The spinal cord carries nerve impulses to corresponding areas of the arms, shoulders, chest and legs. Cervical Myelopathy occurs when these nerve impulses are interrupted and neurological functions are impaired. This condition has a variety of causes including trauma to the spine, infection, inflammation, tumor, degenerative spinal conditions and herniated discs.

 

Those with Cervical Myelopathy may experience signs and symptoms such as:

 

● Neck pain

● Numbness / tingling in the hands

● Loss of motor function in the hands

● Weakness in the arms or hands,

● Loss of balance

● Urinary incontinence

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is not a condition in and of itself but rather a common term used to describe other spinal conditions. DDD can represent one single spinal condition or a combination of several spinal conditions occurring simultaneously. These conditions include:

● Spondylosis
● Spondylolisthesis
● Spinal Stenosis
● Disc Herniations
● Osteophyte formation within the spine

Facet Joint Disorders

Facet Joint Disease is an inflammation or weakening of the spinal joints that are responsible for connecting one spinal vertebrae to another. These joints are lined with cartilage that is responsible for lubricating the spine and allowing the spine to remain flexible.

 

Facet Joint Disease can be a result of arthritis, repetitive strain or trauma. Although Facet Joint Disease can occur at any level of the spine, it is most common in the lumbar spine.

 

Those suffering with Facet Joint Disease can experience signs and symptoms including:

 

● Pain in the low back or neck

● Pain that radiates into the extremities (radiculopathy)

● Cracking or popping sounds when rotating the neck or lower back

 

Foot Drop Injury

Foot drop is the inability to lift the front part of the foot when walking, causing the toe and front foot to drag while walking. Foot drop can affect one or both feet simultaneously and can arise at any age.

Foot drop stems from weakness or paralysis of the muscles that control the lifting of the foot. .

Although there are many causes of foot drop, the most common is a nerve injury resulting from:

● Disc herniation
● Sports Injuries
● Damage during knee or hip replacement surgery
● Child birth
● Diabetes
● Long hours spent in the squatting position
● Stroke
● Multiple Sclerosis
● Cerebral Palsy
● Muscular Dystrophy
● ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

Those experiencing a Foot Drop Injury can experience signs and symptoms such as:

● Difficulty walking
● Difficulty raising the foot or toes
● Inability to control toes when walking
● Pain or numbness in one or both legs
● Exaggerated gait when walking or climbing stairs

Kyphosis

Kyphosis is an exaggerated forward bend in any part of the spine. Most commonly, kyphosis occurs in the neck or upper back. Kyphosis of the upper back can result in a visible “hump” or “hunchback”. Although the onset of Kyphosis can occur at any age, it is most common in aging women as a result of Osteoporotic weakening the spine. This weakening causes compression fractures of the spinal vertebrae. Severe cases can adversely affect the lungs, nerves, tissue and organs.

In addition to a “hunchback”, Kyphosis can result in chronic pain and stiffness of the spine. Medical treatment is determined by factors that include age, degree of severity, effects on other body structures and bone health.

Those suffering with Kyphosis can experience signs and symptoms including:

● Chronic back or neck pain

● Stiffness of the spine

● Tenderness of the spine

● Hunched appearance

● Tendency for the head to lean forward

● Cramping of the muscles in the lumbar spine

● Difficulty breathing

● Fatigue

Sciatica

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the Sciatic Nerve. This nerve begins in the lumbar spine and extends into the hips, buttocks and down each leg. A classic sign of Sciatica is radiating pain along the hip and into the leg. Generally, Sciatica will only affect only one side of your body. Standing, sitting, coughing, sneezing or sudden movements may aggravate this condition and cause a sharp pain along the Sciatic nerve.

 

In most cases, Sciatica is a result of an underlying spinal condition including:

 

● Herniated spinal disc
● Spondylosis
● Bone spurs in the spine
● Spinal stenosis
● Spinal nerve compression

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curve of the spine. Scoliosis occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. The underlying cause of most cases of Scoliosis is unknown.

 

Most cases of Scoliosis are mild and do not require medical attention. However, some children will have a spinal curve that increases in severity as they age. If a Scoliosis curve increases, the spine will also rotate or twist and may become deformed. This can cause the ribs on one side to protrude further than on the other side.

 

Severe cases of Scoliosis can cause chronic back pain and disability. These severe spinal curves can also decrease the amount of space within the chest and make it increasingly difficult for the lungs to properly function.

 

Those with Scoliosis can experience signs and symptoms including:

 

● A visible curvature of the spine

● Uneven shoulders

● One shoulder protruding further than the other

● Uneven waistline

● One hip higher than the other

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis is narrowing of the canal that houses the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots. This narrowing can result in pressure or irritation of the spinal cord or nerve roots. Spinal stenosis most often occurs as a result of the aging process but can also be caused by trauma or arthritis. Spinal Stenosis can occur in any part of the spine, but is most common in the cervical and lumbar spine. Lumbar spinal stenosis can cause low back pain or cramps in the legs. Spinal Stenosis of the cervical spine requires more immediate medical attention as it may compress the spinal cord and cause severe neurological effects.

 

Those with Spinal Stenosis can experience signs and symptoms including:

 

● Pain in the lumbar or cervical spine

● Pain that radiates into the extremities

● Weakness in the arms, hands, or legs

● Sciatica

● Leg cramps

● Stiffness

● Bladder or bowel dysfunction

Spinal Trauma and Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury results from trauma to the spinal cord. Precipitating factors include accident, sports injury, fall or other traumatic incidents. Spinal cord injuries may either be acute or slowly progressive. Symptoms may worsen over time if left untreated. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as the injury occurs or is identified.

 

Depending upon the nature and location of the injury, signs and symptoms may vary.

 

Common signs and symptoms may include:

 

● Intense pain along the spine

● Loss of mobility

● Localized paralysis

● Loss of sensation

● Inability to feel heat or cold

● Bladder or bowel incontinence

● Spasms

● Sexual dysfunction

● Difficulty breathing

● Secretions from the chest or lungs

Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which one spinal vertebra slips abnormally over the vertebra below. In some cases, this may lead to your spinal cord or nerve roots being pinched or irritated.

 

Spondylolisthesis can be caused by a variety of factors and is often seen in athletes and children who engage in impact sports. Impact sports exert concussive forces onto the spinal discs and vertebrae. Over time, small fractures in the vertebra weaken the joints of the spine and allow for this slippage to occur. This condition can also be caused by a congenital defect, accident, trauma, aging or as a result of arthritis.

 

Those suffering with Spondylolisthesis can experience a variety of symptoms including:

 

● Chronic back or neck pain

● Sciatica

● Numbness or tingling in the extremities (radiculopathy)

● Weakness in the extremities

● Difficulty walking

● Pain that increases with activity

● Pain that runs from the lower back down one or both legs.

● Numbness or weakness in one or both legs.

● Difficulty walking.

Spondylosis

Spondylosis refers to changes in the spine that include the formation of bone spurs and the degeneration of the intervertebral discs. This condition can also be known as Osteoarthritis.

 

Spondylosis generally occurs as a part of the aging process as bones and ligaments in the spine deteriorate, leading to the formation of bone spurs. Also, the intervertebral discs can become degenerated and weakened, which can lead to disc herniations and what is commonly referred to as a “collapsed disc”.

 

As the condition progresses it can begin to increase pressure or irritate the nerve roots exiting the spine. This can often cause pain that radiates through the extremities.

Spondylosis is one of the more prevalent spinal conditions.

 

Those suffering from Spondylosis can experience signs and symptoms including:

 

● Chronic back or neck pain

● Pain that radiates into the extremities (radiculopathy)

● Sciatica

● Numbness or tingling in the extremities