The SpineThe Spine

Understanding Common Maladies Of The Spine

Have you ever wondered just how the spine works? What is its purpose or what would happen to you if it was damaged? It is simply a scientific wonder and on close examination, you may wonder how it manages to support our bodies without care in the first place. We will examine how it is constructed, how it works and the problems that may arise.

Everyone at the Lakeland Spine Center wants nothing more than to keep you healthy and pain free. If you are experiencing chronic pain in the spine, call use today for an immediate, no obligation consultation.

The Amazing Framework of the Spine

At the center of it all is the spinal cord, a tight bundle of nerves and connecting ganglia, that is connected directly to the brain. When the brain wants a particular part of the body to move, it sends a message to that body part along the spinal cord, which transfers the impulse along any one of hundreds of connecting nerves throughout. Surrounding and protecting the spinal cord is the spinal column, an interlocking framework of small bones and gelatinous discs.

The spinal column is rooted at the top and bottom into other major bones, the collarbone at the top and the pelvis and hips at the bottom. For medical purposes, it has been diagrammed into thirds, each section delineated with a particular name for reference during diagnosis.

The top section, the cervical, begins at the base of the neck and continues down the first seven vertebrae, the small bones that make up the spinal column. It is also connected by muscles and tendons to the upper back, the shoulders and neck.

Following this is the thoracic spine, in the middle of the back, containing the twelve vertebrae that also support the ribs.

The last, the lumbar, refers to the final five vertebrae and supports the lower back, just above the pelvis.

Fragile, Yet Strong

Each of the vertebrae within the spinal column is quite flexible and is able to twist and turn as our bodies move. The gelatinous discs between each one cushion them from friction and absorb the lion's share of shock created by our bodies impacting with the world around us, every time we step, run or jump. When we are growing, the entire network becomes more durable and flexible over time, gaining strength through exercise and conditioning. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever.

As we age, our bones begin to lose their fluid motion because we are no longer creating the natural lubrication they once had. Any joint in the body, and this includes those vertebrae along the spinal column, will begin to show signs of wearing down as the sockets grow dry and will lose the flexibility they once had. In the spinal area, it can become a source of chronic pain that is often hard to diagnose and treat.

Pinched Nerves and Referred Pain

One of the most common occurrences involving chronic pain and our spines is the pinched nerve. It can be quite hard to diagnose thanks to both how the nerve network functions, and a medical condition known as referred pain. Referred pain was the name given to pain that appears or seems to appear, in one area of the body, but the damage is actually located elsewhere. It all has to do with the nerves, woven throughout every muscle, tendon and organ, and all connected at some point to the spinal cord within the spinal column, and the brain.

When a nerve is pinched or damaged, pain will radiate down a connecting nerve and cause either chronic pain, numbness or tingling or just a general sensation of discomfort to be felt at its end. This will occur if the damage is say, at the back of the neck, but the numbness occurs in one leg or the buttocks. Nerves become compressed, pinched or damaged through injury, herniated discs or even bone aging. Treatment can be lengthy, as it is not always certain where the pain is coming from in cases of referred pain, but once found, it is simply a matter of relieving the pressure.

Effective Treatment Methods

Herniated discs, pinched nerves or even diseases like stenosis can cause problems with the spine. Treatments range from surgery, decompression, massage and pain therapy, to chiropractic procedures to realign, repair and relieve pressure to discs and nerves. Each case is unique, and the treatment will be as well.