Spine

Spine

We generally think of our spines as the structure of bones – the vertebrae – and cartilage(the discs we so often slip) but here at Foothills Neurology, we look past the vertebrae to the spinal cord, protected inside a hollow space, all the way from the brain to the coccyx.

Cervical /Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Cervical/Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal that may occur in any of the regions of the spine. This narrowing causes a restriction to the spinal canal, resulting in a decrease of the brain’s function. Symptoms include pain, numbness, tingling, and loss of motor control. There are several types of spinal stenosis, with lumbar stenosis and cervical stenosis being the most frequent. While lumbar spinal stenosis is more common, cervical spinal stenosis is more dangerous because it involves compression of the spinal cord whereas the lumbar spinal stenosis involves compression of the nerves in the back’s lumbar and sacral regions.

Spinal Stenosis

Cervical / Thoracic / Lumbar Radiculitis

Cervical/Thoracic/Lumbar Radiculitis: a condition caused by a compressed nerve in the spine that can cause pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness along the path of the nerve. Radiculopathy can occur in any part of the spine, but it is most common in the lower back (lumbar radiculopathy) and in the neck (cervical radiculopathy). It is less commonly found in the middle portion of the spine (thoracic radiculopathy).

Cervical / Thoracic / Lumbar Spondylosis

Cervical/Thoracic/Lumbar Spondylosis: also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, is wear-and-tear on the joints, ligaments and intravertebral discs, resulting in changes that disrupt the normal structure and function of the spine. Spondylosis can be disabling and may affect any level of the spine, neck, lumbar (lower back), or sacral (lowest part of the spine) regions. The exact cause is unknown but it appears to be a disease of aging.

Degenerative Disc

Degenerative Disc: the deterioration of one or more intervertebral discs of the spine, often called degenerative disc disease (DDD) or degenerative disc disorder. It is a painful condition that can greatly affect one’s quality of life. DDD is a disease of aging and while not a problem for most people, it can cause severe chronic pain if left untreated.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Myelopathy

Myelopathy: the pathology of the spinal cord. When the cause of a spinal cord condition is due to trauma, it is known as spinal cord injury. When an inflammation is the cause, it is known as myelitis. When the cause is vascular, it is calledvascular myelopathy. Symptoms depend upon the area of the spinal cord affected (cervical, thoracic, or lumbar) and the extent of the condition (anterior, posterior, or lateral). The following may be signs:

  • weakness, spasticity, or clumsiness
  • overactive reflexes, including twitching or spastic tendencies
  • sensory deficits
  • bowel or bladder symptoms
  • sexual dysfunction

External Resource: Transverse Myelitis Association

Neck / Thoracic / Low Back Pain

Neck/Thoracic/Low Back Pain: conditions in the neck, chest, or lumbar areas that press directly on nerves that come from the spine. A herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or spinal stenosis can be possible causes. The areas most frequently affected are locations in the neck and lower back that perform most of the body’s weightbearing functions.