Acute Radiculopathies Your spine is made of many bones called vertebrae. Your spinal cord runs downward through a canal in the center of these bones. Nerve roots branch off the cord and go between the individual vertebrae. When problems affect these nerve roots, the condition is called radiculopathy. One cause of radiculopathy is a herniated disk. Soft disks act as cushions between your vertebrae. On occasion, these disks slip out of place or become damaged and press on nerves. This is sometimes called ...
Are Feet at Fault for Back, Hip, and Knee Woes?
Are Feet at Fault for Back, Hip, and Knee Woes? If you are having problems with back pain, shin splints, knees, or hips, look to your feet. Although these ailments might seem totally unrelated to one another, they can sometimes be linked to problems that start with your feet and how they're built, foot experts say. When you walk, you put the force of as much as five times your body weight on each foot. If the foot doesn't absorb that shock or redistribute it properly, you can develop problems elsewhere....
Back and Neck Pain
Back and Neck Pain What is low back pain? Low back pain can range from mild, dull, annoying pain, to persistent, severe, disabling pain in the lower back. Pain in the lower back can restrict mobility and interfere with normal functioning. What is neck pain? Neck pain is pain that occurs in the area of the seven cervical vertebrae in the neck area. Because of its location and range of motion, the neck is often left unprotected and subject to injury. Pain in the back or neck area can be acute, which comes...
Back Health: Lifting
Back Health: Lifting To protect your back when lifting an object, keep your spine in proper alignment. Discover other ways you can avoid back injuries.
Compression Fractures A compression fracture is a type of fracture, or broken bone that affects your vertebrae, the bones in your back. Compression fractures can cause these bones to collapse, making them shorter in height. Often, the front side of the vertebra loses height, but the rear side doesn't. As a result these fractures can cause your posture to stoop forward over time. Facts about disease Osteoporosis and osteopenia, conditions that cause bones to break easily, are common causes of compression...
Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) Scan of the Spine
Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) Scan of the Spine (Spinal CT Scan, CT of the Spine or Back) Procedure Overview What is a CT or CAT scan of the spine? Computed tomography (CT or CAT scan) is a noninvasive diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce both horizontal and vertical cross-sectional images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are mo...
Getting the Better of Back Pain
Getting the Better of Back Pain Back pain is a common complaint: Nearly everyone will have low back pain that interferes with work or daily activities at some point in his or her life. Back pain is the second most common nerve problem in the United States, after headaches. It is the most common cause of job-related disability, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Back pain is rare in children and teens. It occurs more frequently as people age. Although pain c...
Home Page - Spine, Shoulder, and Pelvis Disorders
Topic Index Facts About the Spine, Shoulder, and Pelvis Physicians and Specialists Chronic Pain Common Disorders of the Spine, Shoulder, and Pelvis Glossary The skeletal trunk, that part of the body made up of the spine (back and neck), shoulders, and pelvis, acts as the major support system for the rest of the body. Sometimes called the trunk or the torso, this area of the body is home to weight-bearing bones and joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerve centers that make movement and flexibility ...
Kyphoplasty (Balloon Vertebroplasty) Procedure overview Kyphoplasty is often discussed along with another procedure called vertebroplasty. These are used to treat fractures in the bones of the spine. These bones are called vertebrae. During a vertebroplasty, the doctor injects a cementlike material into the bone to make it more stable. During a kyphoplasty, the doctor first inflates a balloonlike device in the bone to make space. The space is then filled with cement. Reasons for the procedure You may ne...
Low Back Pain
Low Back Pain What is low back pain? Click Image to Enlarge Low back pain can range from mild, dull, annoying pain, to persistent, severe, disabling pain in the lower back. Pain in the lower back can restrict mobility and interfere with normal functioning. Low back pain is one of the most significant health problems. Consider these statistics from the National Institutes of Health (NIH): Eight out of ten people have back pain at some time in their life. Back pain is a common cause of activity limitation...
Low Back Pain
Low Back Pain Acute low back pain usually results from an injury or an accident, and lasts less than a week. Chronic low back pain may last for more than three months. This video looks at how to manage both acute and chronic back pain.
Lumbar Disc Disease (Herniated Disc)
Lumbar Disc Disease (Herniated Disc) Click Image to Enlarge Anatomy of the lumbar spine The vertebral column, also called the backbone, is made up of 33 vertebrae that are separated by spongy disks and classified into four distinct areas. The cervical area consists of seven bony parts in the neck; the thoracic spine consists of 12 bony parts in the back area; the lumbar spine consists of five bony segments in the lower back area; five sacral bones (fused into one bone, the sacrum); and four coccygeal bo...
Lumbar Disk Disease
Lumbar Disk Disease Your lumbar spine, or lower back, is made of five vertebrae separated by cushioning disks of cartilage. Degenerative conditions or trauma can damage a disk, allowing the material inside to bulge into the spinal canal. Discover the effects of this bulging or herniated disk.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Lumbar spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spine in the lower part of your back. Stenosis , which means narrowing, happens when your vertebrae, or the bones of your back, put pressure on your spinal cord or the nerves that pass out from your spinal cord to your muscles. Your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs through a tunnel formed by your vertebrae called the spinal canal. Spinal stenosis can happen in any part of your spine but is most common in the lower back. This ...
Lumbar Strain (Weight Lifter's Back)
Lumbar Strain (Weight Lifter's Back) What is a lumbar strain? A lumbar strain is an injury to the lower back, which results in damaged tendons and muscles that spasm and feel sore. What causes a lumbar strain? Click Image to Enlarge Trauma of great force can injure the tendons and muscles in the lower back. Pushing and pulling sports, such as weight lifting or football, can lead to a lumbar strain. In addition, sports that require sudden twisting of the lower back, such as in basketball, baseball, and g...
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Spine and Brain
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Spine and Brain (MRI Scan of the Spine, MRI Scan of the Brain) Procedure overview What is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)? Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of a large magnet, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. How does an MRI scan work? The MRI machine is a large, cylindrical (tube-shaped) machine that creates a strong magnetic field around the pat...
Massage Therapy for Back Pain
Massage Therapy for Back Pain Many American adults seek medical treatment for back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, it's estimated that eight out of 10 people will experience back pain and that it is one of the most common medical problems. When traditional medicine doesn't relieve the pain, many people turn to alternative treatments such as massage therapy. The treatment is tailored specifically to each individual's needs, and the therapist is responsible for determining the appropriate touc...
Multiple Sclerosis Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a slowly progressive disease of the central nervous system. MS damages the protective covering of nerve fibers. Learn about possible causes, the range of symptoms, and treatments available.
Neck Pain What is neck pain? The neck is located between the head and the shoulders. Because of its location and range of motion, it is often left unprotected and subject to injury. Neck pain can result from many different causes - from injury to inflammatory disease. Causes of neck pain and problems may include the following: Injury (damage to the muscles, tendons, and/or ligaments) Herniated cervical disk Arthritis (for example, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis) Cervical disk degeneration Congenit...
Neck Pain and Problems
Neck Pain and Problems What is neck pain? The neck is located between the head and the shoulders. Because of its location and range-of-motion, it is often left unprotected and subject to injury. What causes neck pain? Neck pain can result from many different causes - from injury to inflammatory disease. Causes of neck pain and problems may include the following: Injury (damage to the muscles, tendons, and/or ligaments) Herniated cervical disk Arthritis (i.e., osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis) Cervic...
Neck Problems There are many conditions that affect the neck, which require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional. Listed in the directory below are some, for which we have provided a brief overview. Neck Pain Torticollis (Wryneck) Whiplash Injury
Paralysis: For Caregivers
Paralysis: For Caregivers Living with a disability is a family affair, and caregivers can feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities. This video looks at the role of the caregiver, and how a caregiver can cope with the emotional and physical demands of his or her responsibilities.
Paralysis: Hands-Free Computing
Paralysis: Hands-Free Computing The computer is one of the most liberating tools for people with disabilities. It can take information from not only a keyboard, but also a mouth stick, voice, Morris code, or other device. Explore the options available for hands-free computing.
Paralysis: Independent Living Centers
Paralysis: Independent Living Centers For people who are newly disabled, independent living centers can be a primary resource. ILCs offer a range of assistance, including advocacy, information and referral, housing, and peer counseling. Here is a comprehensive look at ILCs and how they can help you.
Paralysis: Paralysis Resource Center
Paralysis: Paralysis Resource Center The Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center promotes the health and well-being of both people living with paralysis and their families. Learn about the center and its mission to provide comprehensive information resources and referral services.
Scoliosis Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve sideways. Learn how scoliosis occurs and what treatments are available.
Spinal Cord Compression
Spinal Cord Compression Spinal cord compression is caused by any condition that puts pressure on your spinal cord. Your spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that carries messages back and forth from your brain to your muscles and other soft tissues. As your spinal cord travels down your back, it is protected by a stack of backbones called vertebrae (they also hold your body upright). The nerves of your spinal cord run out to your muscles through openings between the vertebrae. Spinal cord compression can...
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal Cord Injury What is an acute spinal cord injury? Click Image to Enlarge The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Acute spinal cord injury (SCI) is due to a traumatic injury that can either result in a bruise (also called a contusion), a partial tear, or a complete tear (called a transection) in the spinal cord. About 250,000 to 400,000 individuals in the US have a spinal cord injury. About 60 percent of these cases are 30 years old or...
Spinal Stenosis Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal narrows and pinches the nerves, resulting in back and leg pain. This video explains the condition and what treatments are recommended.
Spinal Tap Procedure
Spinal Tap Procedure A spinal tap, also called lumbar puncture, is used to take a sample of the fluid from the spinal column to look for infection or bleeding. Watch this video to learn what happens during this procedure.
Spondylolisthesis This condition occurs when one of the vertebrae in the lower back slips out of place, onto the vertebra below it. Arthritis or another degenerative disease is the most common cause. Discover facts about the symptoms, causes, and possible treatments of this condition.
Vertebroplasty (Percutaneous Vertebroplasty) Procedure overview Vertebroplasty is a procedure in which a special medical-grade cement mixture is injected into a fractured vertebra. The vertebrae are the small bones that make up the spine. When they become fractured, you will often experience pain and a loss of mobility. When vertebroplasty is successful, the cement mixture injection stabilizes the vertebra and allows you to return to normal activity after a recovery period. Reasons for the procedure The...
X-ray of the Spine, Neck, or Back
X-ray of the Spine, Neck, or Back (Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar, Sacral, or Coccygeal X-ray Studies) Procedure Overview What are x-rays of the spine, neck, or back? X-rays use invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on film. Standard x-rays are performed for many reasons, including diagnosing tumors or bone injuries. X-rays are made by using external radiation to produce images of the body, its organs, and other internal structures for diagnostic pur...
X-rays of the Spine, Neck, or Back
X-rays of the Spine, Neck, or Back (Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar, Sacral, or Coccygeal X-ray Studies) Procedure Overview What are x-rays of the spine, neck, or back? X-rays use invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on film. Standard x-rays are performed for many reasons, including diagnosing tumors or bone injuries. X-rays are made by using external radiation to produce images of the body, its organs, and other internal structures for diagnostic pu...