Disorders that generally affect the spine are often result from
trauma such as heavy work or whiplash accidents or other unknown
causes. They are degenerative and there is morbid deterioration. As
the diseases progress, they cripple normal functioning of the body.
A very common disorder of the spine is spondylosis. It is primarily
a condition of age. The condition reduces mobility of the
intervertebral joints and there is a consequent development of
abnormal bone around the vertebrae. What happens is that projections
called osteophytes appear from the vertebral margins. Osteophytes
are small, bony spurs and they cause the bone to become denser and
the disks to degenerate. The degenerated disk extrudes both forward
and backward. When the extrusion is backward, the spinal canal is
Lumbar Spondylosis and Cervical Spondylosis
When there is a marked narrowing of the canal over a few segments
and when the bone, disk and the ligaments protrude into it, the
condition is called lumbar spinal stenosis. Here the nerve roots of
the cauda equina are compressed. When the misalignment of the
vertebrae causes stretching of the joint capsules at sites where the
vertebrae are adjacent, there is pain.
A more common occurrence in the event of backward protrusion of an
intervertebral disk is distortion of the local ligaments. In this
case, the emerging nerve root is compressed and there results pain,
weakness and numbness in the area.
Spondylosis usually affects men more than women. Usually, the lumbar
and cervical spine are more frequently affected than the thoracic
spine, because the curvature of the latter prevents spondylosis from
impinging on the spinal cord. Another important point is that lumbar
and cervical spondylosis frequently occur simultaneously in the same
individual. The onset of the symptoms is generally very slow and
gradual. However, if ignored, spondylosis may lead to disabling
tingling pain, limited motion, and partial paralysis in affected
areas of the body.
For treating lumbar spondylosis, doctors advise surgery. Surgical
decompression of the affected nerves to get relief from leg pain and
paralysis is advised. However, there is a possibility of low back
pain recurring even after surgery. In the case of mild cervical spondylosis, it may be treated with traction. Here too, severe cases
are best treated with surgical decompression.
Spondylolisthesis and other conditions
Another condition that can affect the spine is spondylolisthesis. It
is a condition where there is a slipping forward of one vertebra
onto another. It is usually a congenital deformity or it may be
caused due to trauma.
Besides spondylosis and spodylolisthesis, infections, tumors and
bone diseases may also cause vertebral disorders, causing pain and
signs of damage to the roots and perhaps to the cord as well. Direct
infections of the spinal cord are very rare. Tumors are usually
secondary to such malignancies as lymphomas or carcinomas of the
breast, prostate or kidney. Benign or non-cancerous tumors may also
Paget’s disease, osteomalacia, and osteoporosis are other disorders
related to the spine. These may cause the bones to soften, which in
turn result in compression of the spinal or the roots.
Learn more about spondylosis and other spinal conditions with a medical dictionary. If you are doing research to find out more about either a genetic condition or the implications so a spinal injury the internet has a number of resources to get the information you need.