No one seems to know how the phrase “throwing your back out” originated, but almost everyone knows what it means: You’ve injured your back and it really hurts. When you yell out "threw out my back!” you’ll know the pain immediately. There will be a sharp, severe pain, usually in … Read More
The spine is the body?s scaffolding. Its stacked column of 26 bones supports the head, shoulders, and upper body, and enables you to stand upright, bend over, and move. A number of conditions can affect the spine, causing pain and disrupting mobility. Spinal stenosis involves a narrowing of the spaces in various parts of the spine. This narrowing can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, causing pain or numbness in the back, arms, and/or legs. Some people with spinal stenosis also have trouble controlling bowel or bladder function.
You?re more likely to develop spinal stenosis as you get older, due to wear and tear on the spine. Some people inherit a vulnerability to spinal narrowing. Other causes of spinal stenosis include herniated disks, tumors, and spinal injuries that dislodge or fracture the vertebrae of the spine.
Doctors use imaging tests such as x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect damage to the spine and diagnose spinal stenosis. Treatment for spinal stenosis can include medicines to ease nerve pain and reduce inflammation, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs. Opioid medicines can help with severe discomfort, but these powerful pain relievers need to be used with caution because they can become addictive.
Steroid injections can help relieve inflammation and reduce pressure on the spine. Physical therapy helps to strengthen the muscles that support the spine. A physical therapist can also teach exercises that improve flexibility and balance. Some people may need to use assistive devices, such as a cane or walker, to give them more stability while walking.
When these treatments don?t help, surgery may be an option. Procedures for spinal stenosis remove part of the affected vertebrae, creating an opening that relieves pressure on nerves. Metal hardware may be implanted to fill the gap left by the removed section(s), and keep the spine upright.
As a rule, upper back pain is unusual, since the upper back is structurally stronger than the lower back and also isn’t as mobile, due to being connected to the rib cage. This lack of motion affords it some protection against the bending-twisting types of injury you might sustain in … Read More
Up to 60 percent of adults have had nocturnal leg cramps. These recurrent, painful cramps usually strike the calf muscles and can cause frequent awakenings and severe insomnia. They are more common in people aged 50 years and older. If you’ve suffered through them, read on to learn how to … Read More
Because kidney pain location is frequently focused in the upper back, it’s easy to mistake kidney pain for upper back pain. But kidney pain isn’t related to muscular issues, or to other causes of back pain, such as the pinched nerve that can trigger spinal stenosis symptoms. Kidney pain also … Read More
Low back pain is extremely common and affects most people at some point in their lifetime. Estimates show that up to 36 percent of us will suffer from a new or recurrent episode of low back pain in a given year. Much of it originates in the lumbar area. If … Read More
What is spinal stenosis? It's a condition in which the spinal canal narrows due to: A herniated disc that encroaches on the spinal canal from the front Thickened ligaments that encroach on the canal from both sides. A narrowed spinal canal impedes the blood supply to the nerves, causing pain. … Read More
Back pain is normally in your lower back and may cause muscle spasms. But when is back pain serious? A back pain red-flag warning is when the pain is intense, spreads down one or both legs, causes weakness or numbness, or follows a fall or a blow to your back. … Read More
The term spondylosis means degeneration of the spine. The word sounds ominous, but the condition affects just about everyone as they age and as the spine goes the through the wear and tear of daily activities. Spondylosis is also a “catch-all” term because spinal degeneration takes various forms. It might … Read More
Your vertebral discs are the small, doughnut-shaped objects located between each of the vertebrae in your spine. Healthy discs provide cushioning between your vertebrae and allow for proper movement and bending of your spine. The discs also keep the openings in the vertebrae through which nerves exit the spinal canal—the … Read More
When I first started writing about health issues, I would casually mention how some people find their sleep disturbed by pain, but I didn’t really think much about it, or what the effects can be. Today I find myself in that category due to a lifelong problem that used to … Read More