Spinal disorders

Definition

The spinal cord is the main pathway of communication between the brain and the body. It is protected by the vertebrae of the spinal column, and the vertebrae are separated and cushioned by disks of cartilage. Spinal disorders can affect any or all the portions of the spine. 

Cause

There are a multitude disease processes that can lead to diseases of the spine; such as degenerative conditions, compression syndromes, herniation of disks, tumors, spinal cord malformations (congenital), trauma and infections.

Symptoms

When the spine is injured or stressed, patients may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness

These symptoms may be felt in the back or anywhere else in the body, thus diagnosing the source of the symptoms is very important. 

Diagnosis

The doctor will take a thorough medical history of the symptoms and order laboratory tests to help make an accurate diagnosis. The doctor may also order scans that will assist in accurately diagnosing the source of the problem, these may include:

  • X-Ray
  • MRI or CT Scan
  • Bone Scans
  • EMG studies 
Treatment

If the patient is experiencing pain, pain medications will be prescribed to control the symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medications or injections of steroids may be prescribed based on the cause of the pain.

Braces, assistive devices and rehabilitation thru physiotherapy may assist in improving the symptoms of the patient.

Surgery may be considered to treat spinal deformities or herniation conditions.