Causes And Symptoms Of Thoracic Spine And Lumbar Spine Fractures
A fracture of the thoracic spine or the lumbar spine is typically caused by high-velocity accidents, such as falls, car crashes, sports injuries, and other violent acts. As a result, men are four times more likely than women to suffer a fracture of the lumbar spine or thoracic region. Additionally, seniors are at risk for fractures of the lumbar spine or thoracic region, as their bones are weak and brittle. Other conditions involving weakened bone, such as tumors, can increase risk for fractures. These fractures may also cause lumbar spine pain and spinal cord damage.
Persons experiencing a fracture of the thoracic spine or the lumbar spine typically present with moderate to severe upper back and neck pain, worsened with movement. Spinal cord-related injuries may cause numbness, tingling, weakness, bowel/bladder dysfunction, brain injuries, black-outs, and lost consciousness. A fracture of the lumbar spine or thoracic spine can also result in distracting injuries in which pain from other spine injuries masks lumbar spine pain.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Symptoms
Lumbar spinal stenosis causes pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Such pressure can result in serious pain, leg numbness, and weakness. However, not everyone will experience the same lumbar spinal stenosis symptoms. Some people may have more or less back pain than others based on the severity of arthritis present. Additionally, those with spinal canal stenosis often experience sciatica. Sciatica is caused by the pressure lumbar spinal stenosis places on spinal nerves. This burning, shooting pain or ache can radiate down the leg and may even affect the feet.
Spinal canal stenosis patients may be afflicted with numbness, tingling, and weakness in these areas. The weakness can affect one or both legs and there may also be the chance of foot drop, where it feels as though the foot is slapping against the ground while walking.
Simply sitting or leaning forward may alleviate spinal stenosis pain. Such activity provides relief because it may increase the nerves available area. On the other hand, in some cases lumbar spinal stenosis pain may be worsened by standing up straight or walking. Given the various factors and subtle differences, you should visit experts in the field for diagnosis and treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis.
The Severity Of A Cervical Fracture
A cervical fracture is a serious injury and can take a devastating toll on your body. The neck contains seven bones, known as the cervical vertebrae, which support the head and also connect the head to the shoulders and the rest of the body. If a fracture occurs in any portion of the cervical vertebrae, this often results in major damage because a cervical fracture can cause dangerous and degenerative spine problems. The spinal cord, which runs through the vertebraes center, is crucial to the central nervous system. It transports information throughout the body, enabling movement and other essential functions. Risk factors for a cervical fracture include loss of sensation, temporary or permanent paralysis from the neck down, and even death.
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Causes & Symptoms Of Neck Pain
The many components within the neck, including bones, joints, and assorted soft tissues , require special care and protection. Soft tissue problems are a major source for neck pain which then radiates into the upper back, shoulders, or arms. Most of the time, this neck pain is temporary and goes away with time, although more serious conditions such as a herniated disk in the neck may require medical attention. Additionally, inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, tumors, infections, and other factors may cause neck pain. Aging and normal wear-and-tear can also contribute to the cause of neck pain.
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Anatomy Of Low Back Pain
The lumbar spine includes five larger vertebrae and supports a greater amount of body weight. This segment is primarily responsible for low back pain.
The vertebrae form an interconnected canal protecting the spinal cord, and small facet joints within the vertebral column enable movement and spinal rotation. The flat, round intervertebral disks between each vertebra enable flexibility, strength, and movement. They also contain water that depletes with time, causing available disk space to narrow and low back pain to develop.
Handling A Cervical Fracture Emergency
Patients with a cervical fracture who remain conscious may experience severe neck pain as the damaged vertebrae cause pinched nerves. These pinched nerves shoot pain through the body to the shoulders or arms and often cause bruising, swelling, and pain at the back of the neck. Persons with cervical fractures may even become paralyzed from these spine problems.
Given the risk associated with cervical fractures, if you suspect a cervical fracture has occurred it is critical you remain calm and contact a medical professional as soon as possible. Typically when emergency personnel suspect that a neck injury has occurred they recommend immobilizing a patients neck. A physician then performs a neurological examination to determine nerve function, orders x-rays, and may perform additional radiographic studies, such as an MRI or computed tomography .
Cervical radiculopathy or a pinched nerve occurs when neck pain spreads all the way into your shoulders or arms. This pain and discomfort is actually the result of an injury near a spinal nerve root. Cervical radiculopathy is a very common occurence as its development is so closely associated with aging.
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Recognizing The Symptoms Of Congenital Torticollis
Congenital torticollis causes the head to tilt in one direction with the chin pointing toward the opposite shoulder. In about 75% of all twisted neck cases, the baby favors the right side. In addition to forming a soft, non-tender mass in the necks muscles, affected babies also experience a limited range of motion in their necks.
Congenital torticollis also often results in one side of the babys face and head becoming flattened because the child always sleeps on one side. This may be relieved by changing the babys head position while sleeping, using pillows.
The twelve vertebrae of the thoracic spine run from the upper chest to the middle back and connect to the rib cage. The lumbar spine, located in the lower back, includes 5 vertebrae that support greater body weight. Fractures to either the thoracic spine or the lumbar spine are actually two of the most common spinal fractures. Another common fracture is a thoracolumbar junction fracture and it occurs where these two segments meet.
A thoracic or lumbar fracture of the spine is a serious condition. West Michigan Spine Center is unrivaled in neck or back pain management for a fracture of the thoracic and lumbar spine. If you have experienced a fracture of the thoracic or lumbar spine, please contact us immediately!
Orthopaedic Associates Of Michigan Expands Urgent Orthopaedic Care Service
Grand Rapids, Mich., Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan announced today that it is opening a second OAM NOW location at 4665 44th St. in Kentwood on Monday, Oct. 27. The opening marks an expansion of the orthopaedic urgent care service OAM launched in February 2013.
The demand for this service has been tremendous, said James R. Ringler, MD, president of Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan. Were seeing 12-30 patients per night from all over the Grand Rapids area and from as far away as Ingham and Isabella Counties. When we analyzed where people are coming from and what urgent care options are available in the area, we determined that it would be a strong benefit to the region to open a second OAM NOW location on the southeast side.
OAM NOW, which currently operates at 2680 Leonard St., NE in Grand Rapids, is the only dedicated orthopaedic urgent care service in Michigan. Patients with urgent orthopaedic injuries such as fractures, back and neck pain, sports injuries, strains and sprains, and other musculoskeletal injuries can call ahead for a same-day appointment weekdays from 8 a.m. 5 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome 5 9 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. 5 p.m. Saturdays .
Since launching the service 20 months ago, more than 6,100 patients have been treated at OAM NOW. Over two thirds of those patients were referred by their doctor, a friend or a family member.
OAM NOW hours at 2680 Leonard St., NE, in Grand Rapids are:
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About Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan
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Causes And Symptoms Of Low Back Pain
Activities, such as over-activity and bending or lifting, contribute to low back pain, but such pain typically disappears within a few weeks. Aging, beginning as early as 20s or 30s, can cause low back pain. Other causes may include:
- Intervertebral disk tears, injuries, or herniation
- Disk degeneration disks collapse and rub together
- Spondylolisthesis stress fractures that weaken bones causing disk shifting and nerve pressure
- Spinal stenosis the space around the spinal cord narrows causing cord and pressure on the nerves in the lower back
- Bone spur a new bone spur develops to support vertebrae after disks collapse and may narrow the spinal canal.
- Scoliosis an abnormal spinal curve affecting children, adolescents, and older arthritis patients.
- Diseases such as cancer or Spine Centerular or arterial disease
Symptoms of low back pain include constant or intermittent pain, sudden flashes or a slow onset, sharp, stabbing pain, dull aches, or cramps. Although lying down or reclining may offer relief, the pain can worsen with bending, lifting, standing, walking or sitting. You may experience pain radiating from the back into the buttock or outer hip area, but not down the leg. There may also be sciatica affecting the nerves in the lower back causing pain in the buttocks or legs, tingling, numbness, or weakness. Low back pain patients may even experience fever, chills, or unexpected weight loss. All of these symptoms may require medical attention.
Common Cervical Spondylosis Symptoms
Not all patients suffering with cervical spondylosis experience the same symptoms. The most common complaint is pain caused by pressure being placed on surrounding nerve roots. If cervical spondylosis becomes very severe, patients may also complain of pain in the back of neck, tingling or muscle weakness in the arms or legs. Pinched nerves also frequently develop with this condition.
Some of the less common symptoms of C.S., including those related to direct pressure being placed on the cervical spine, include trouble walking, total body weakness, the loss of balance, and the loss of bowel and/or bladder control. Patients may also experience parasthesia, shocks in the hands and legs caused by the lack of blood flow and nerve compression.
Congenital torticollis , common in firstborn children, is typically diagnosed 6-8 weeks after birth. Children with a twisted neck are 10-20% more likely to have hip dysplasia at birth as well. The simple act of sleeping may reveal the presence of twisted neck. When a physician suspects congenital torticollis, he or she should also examine the hips. Children with congenital torticollis appear to have their heads tilted to one side. This twisted neck also makes it difficult to turn the head to the opposite side.
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Causes Of Cauda Equina Syndrome
There is a bundle of nerves called the cauda equine located at the end of the spinal column. Syndrome indicators may develop when these nerve roots are compressed and paralyzed. A pinched nerve in back regions can cut off local movement and sensation, especially in a nerve responsible for bowel, bladder, or sexual function.
CES develops either naturally at birth or through violent and/or penetrating injuries, such as falls, vehicle crashes, gunshots or stabbings. The trauma of a lumbar puncture or spinal anesthesia may cause CES, as can ruptured disks. The narrowing of the spinal canal from spinal stenosis due to degenerative diseases may also cause this condition. Severe spondylolisthesis, stress fractures, and inflammatory conditions like Pagets disease can lead to the cause of CES. Finally, tumors and lesions may also cause CES by altering pinched nerve function.
Causes Of Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy
CSM can cause serious neck pain, often because of problems with nearby soft tissues. The normal effects of aging can wear down the muscles, ligaments, and nerves, along with the spines bones and joints resulting in neck pain and pain in the upper back, shoulders, or arms. The leading causes of spinal cord compression include:
- Cervical Disk Degeneration Between each vertebra are flat, round, intervertebral disks which enable spinal flexibility, strength, and support. These disks have a high water content that decreases around the age of 40 and older. This shrinks the space between vertebrae which in turn wears down the disks and causes spinal cord compression.
- Inflammatory Diseases Certain inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, target neck joints, especially in the upper neck, resulting in severe pain and stiffness in the neck. This can also compress the spinal cord.
- Injury Although our necks are flexible, they are also very fragile. Accidents and injuries such as car accidents, falls, and contact sports, can injure the neck and cause spinal cord compression. The most severe neck injuries are neck fractures or dislocations. These injuries may compress the spinal cord and can even result in paralysis.
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Symptoms Of Cauda Equina Syndrome
When dealing with CES, early diagnosis and treatment is essential but not always simple. The typical symptoms vary in intensity and may take a while to appear. Most patients may experience bladder and/or bowl dysfunction, resulting in the inability to retain or hold waste and urine. They may also experience changes to or the loss of sensation in multiple areas. These areas include between the legs, the inner thighs, the back of the legs, over the buttocks, and around the feet and heels. Patients may observe pain, numbness, or weakness that spreads to one or both legs and causes stumbling or difficulty in rising. Sexual dysfunction may be a side effect of this condition as well. CES can lead to major health problems such as permanent paralysis, impaired bladder and/or bowel control, and the loss of sexual sensation.
While any musculoskeletal condition may require medical attention, certain injuries demand immediate action. One of the most serious back and spinal injuries is a cervical fracture. If a cervical fracture is suspected, you may be dealing with a broken neck!
If you suspect a cervical fracture has occurred, you need to quickly contact the spine specialists and medical professionals at West Michigan Spine Center.
Symptoms Of Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy
Patients with spinal cord compression typically notice a steady progression of their disease with symptoms gradually evolving over the years. However, approximately 5% to 20% of patients will experience rapid progression of CSM with the sudden onset of symptoms.
In most instances, once spinal cord compression develops, its symptoms tend to continue. The most common symptoms include: neck pain and/or stiffness, tingling, and numbness. Patients with spinal cord compression may also experience weakness and drop things, or have trouble lifting objects. They may also face a loss of balance, difficulty walking, and a wide-based gait. Patients may also experience problems with coordination.
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My husband and I have been to OAM multiple times over the last 5 years. Dr. Martin Pallante did a hip replacement on my husband, and one knee replacement on myself. I am getting my second knee replacement in August. Dr. Pallante is very thorough, kind, and genuinely cares about his patients. I would highly recommend Dr. Pallante for any orthopaedic problems to my friends and family.
Used the Urgent Care walk in for an ankle injury. They were fast, well organized, and very friendly and professional.
My first visit to OAM was great! Not that I want to go back, but if I do I know I will get great care and medical advice to guide any decision I need to make. Dr. Voss was very thorough and gave me a better outlook than was I was told in a different office.
My oldest child has been to Orthopaedic Associates many times. She received excellent care from Dr. Pallante for a broken elbow at 3 years old Dr. Anhalt for the other broken elbow, requiring surgery at 7 years old. She has seen Adam Geller PA, initially in the urgent care for the elbow fracture that required surgery and post surgical care for the elbow. All of the providers were excellent.
I received a back injection from OAM. From scheduling, the injection and getting my bill, everything was a smooth process!
The Science Behind Sciatica
Normal aging and wear-and-tear contribute to scatica. A common cause of sciatica is the deterioration of intervertebral disks between each vertebra that cushion the bones of the lower spine. These disks allow for flexibility, strength, and movement. Over time, the disks lose water causing the vertebra to rub together. The disks jelly-like center may protrude into or through the disk’s outer lining. The nucleus can also leak chemicals that irritate and inflame nerve roots.
As a result, these herniated disks can place sudden, direct pressure on the surrounding nerves in the lower back. Specifically, pinched nerve development targets the sciatic nerve, a large nerve fiber that originates in the lower back that runs through the buttocks and down the lower legs. The sciatic nerve is actually the bodys longest and widest single nerve. Its been found that an estimated 1 in 50 people will experience a herniated disk during their lifetime and 10% to 25% will experience sciatic nerve compression symptoms lasting more than 6 weeks.
Despite a proper diet and exercise routine, you cant escape the effects of aging, especially when it comes to spinal health. One of the more common conditions is spinal cord compression or cervical spondylotic myelopathy . This condition occurs as a result of the natural narrowing of the spinal canal. While some narrowing is normal, increased narrowing may compress the spinal cord causing a serious threat to general health.
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