Spinal conditions can lead to debilitating pain and discomfort. Here are a few common ailments that require immediate orthopedic care and intervention:
1. Back Injury
Back injuries are among the most common spinal conditions. They typically occur due to sudden movement, abrupt twisting, or lifting heavy objects improperly. The back muscles and ligaments are stretched beyond their normal capacities, triggering lower or upper back pain.
Back injuries due to ligament strains are usually accompanied by a dull ache, soreness, muscle spasms, and general discomfort. You may also experience a loss of mobility and flexibility if the pain is severe enough to interfere with your physical movement.
Back injuries may also occur due to spinal fractures, resulting in chronic or acute pain. These injuries may also lead to deformities.
Most back injuries are relatively minor and can be treated with heat and ice packs, pain medication, and rest. More severe injuries may require surgery and extensive physical therapy to eliminate the pain and discomfort.
2. Herniated Nucleus Pulposus
A herniated disc, aka herniated nucleus pulposus, often occurs due to degeneration of the spinal disc. Alternately, it may also occur due to a traumatic event such as an accident or sharp blow to the lumbar spine, causing the annulus to malfunction. People suffering from a herniated disc in the lumbar spine experience:
- Leg and back pain
- Loss of sensation
- Abnormal sensations
If you feel any of these symptoms, see an orthopedic specialist, who will likely recommend imaging tests to make a diagnosis. Depending on the severity of the condition, herniated discs may be treated through noninvasive procedures, but if the condition is more severe, your physician may recommend spine surgery and physical therapy.
Sciatica refers to lower back pain that radiates down the body to the buttocks and the legs. It occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched and causes severe pain and discomfort.
A person with sciatica is likely to experience:
- Sharp pain in the lower back, leg, or foot
- Difficulty walking or standing
- A burning or tingling sensation
- Weakness in the leg
CT scans and X-rays are usually used for diagnosing sciatica. For milder symptoms, noninvasive procedures such as heat and cold therapy and physical therapy can be used. If the condition doesn’t improve, you may require spine surgery.
The orthopedic surgeons at Houston Physicians’ Hospital specialize in spinal disorders and treatments for all types of back and neck pain. If you suffer from chronic back pain, you can find a physician on our website and make an appointment directly with their office.