Health and Beauty

Common Spine Issues That Can Happen to Anyone

Spine Issues

Many people presume that spine issues and back conditions only happen to people over the age of 50, athletes, or people who work manual jobs that involve a lot of heavy lifting. However, this is not the case and even younger people who do not work in a physical job can suffer from back trouble.

In this article, we will focus on common spine issues that can happen to anyone, from young children to active twenty-somethings. 

5 Common Spine Issues

There are a large number of issues and conditions that can affect the spine, causing pain and a lack of mobility, among other symptoms. In this section, we will focus on just 5 of the most common spine issues that can affect anyone, at any stage of their life. 

  1. Arthritis

Arthritis is the inflammation of the joint, where two bones connect anywhere in the body. There are around 100 different forms of arthritis (rheumatic disease) and the most common type is osteoarthritis which is when the cartilage wears away – this can affect the vertebrae. 

Usually a result of the aging process or physical trauma, arthritis can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints as well as affect the surrounding ligaments, muscles, and tendons. There are also other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis which is brought on by autoimmune diseases and affects people of all ages.

This condition is more prevalent among middle-aged and older people, but young people can also develop juvenile arthritis.

  1. Herniated Disc 

Herniated discs are also referred to as slipped discs, ruptured discs, prolapsed discs, bulging discs, and compressed discs, but all refer to the same condition. A herniated disc is when one of the cushioned, jelly-like discs that protect the vertebrae ruptures out of its harder, thicker casing, coming into contact with the surrounding nerves or spinal cord. 

As well as causing pain, discomfort, and weakness, a ruptured disc can also cause other conditions such as sciatica. In many cases, treatment can help these discs heal over time but if the treatment proves ineffective, surgery (a discectomy) may be required.

Possible treatments that could alleviate a herniated disc include:

  1. Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition that involves the narrowing of the spinal column, resulting in pressure being placed on the spinal cord and surrounding nerves. This condition can occur in the neck region of the spine (cervical spinal stenosis) or in the lower back (lumbar spinal stenosis). 

Spinal stenosis is often caused by a person suffering an injury, but it can also be brought on by other conditions such as scoliosis or arthritis. Some people suffering from spinal stenosis experience no symptoms, however, others can be subjected to pain, numbness, and weakness, making leading an active lifestyle difficult. 

This condition can be diagnosed using a range of tests, and spotting the signs of stenosis earlier can help treatments be administered to help resolve the issue before surgery needs to be considered.

Diagnosis procedures include:

  • CT Scans (Computed Tomography)
  • MRI Scans (Magnetic Resonance Imagining) 
  • Bone Scans
  • X-Rays
  • Electrical Nerve Conduction Studies
  • Myelography
  1. Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease refers to osteoarthritis of the spine, affecting the discs that sit between each vertebra. It occurs when the discs wear down over time, becoming dry and fragile, eventually resulting in the disc protruding from its casing, as well as a bone spur in some cases.

This condition can affect the neck and back, applying pressure to the spinal cord and nerves and impacting nerve function in more severe cases. Degenerative disc disease is more common among older people but can also develop if a person has suffered from a back or neck injury in the past, regardless of age.

People suffering from degenerative disc disease will likely feel pain in the affected area, as well as a numb or tingling sensation. This discomfort can be worsened when a person performs certain actions such as bending down or stretching. However, some people who have the condition do not have any noticeable symptoms.

  1. Spondylosis

Spondylosis is the wearing down of the bones in the spine (vertebrae) and the discs that sit between them, causing them to shift out of position and press on nerves or the spinal cord. Cervical spondylosis occurs in the neck and can result in severe pain, thoracic spondylosis happens in the middle of the back, while lumbar spondylosis affects the lower back. 

Spondylosis is closely related to spondylolisthesis but they are not one and the same. Spondylolisthesis is when the vertebrae move from their original position and come into contact with the adjacent bone. Arthritis is a common cause of spondylolisthesis, as are spinal diseases and fractured vertebrae. Some people can also be born with congenital spondylolisthesis.

Traditional Back Surgeries

If the conditions above become too severe and treatment does not have a positive effect, then your doctor may recommend surgery in an attempt to fix the problem permanently. Surgeries such as laminectomies, discectomies, and spinal fusion are proven to help alleviate pain but they also come with downsides.

Spinal fusion limits movement in the back, making performing a range of functions very difficult. This means continuing in a manual job, playing sports, or taking part in various exercises may not be possible. In addition, this surgery can also result in the deterioration of the adjacent vertebrae over time, causing other conditions later down the line.

Modern Advancements – The TOPS System

A modern solution to spinal fusion iS System, a surgical implant device that replaces the bone graft, rods, and screws of fusion surgery to ensure the patient maintains full motion in the back. This device mimics the natural movement of the vertebrae, meaning the patient can still live a normal life after surgery. 

If surgery is recommended as the next course of action, then it is important to discuss the benefits of modern advancements such as the TOPS System with your doctor. 

About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!