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What is Spinal Pathology?
Spinal Pathology can be anything from a degenerative spine or scoliosis to more acute complex trauma. There are many different levels of spinal pathology, along with many symptoms, ranging from tingling or numbness to acute pain. If you have endured any of these symptoms, and feel you have back pain that needs to be treated, it’s important to understand what you are up against along with your options. Here, we discuss common conditions, who it effects, and how it is treated.
What Are the Most Common Spinal Conditions?
The most common spinal conditions are degenerative in nature, those being things like herniated discs in the cervical and lumbar spine, arthritis in cervical and lumbar spine, as well as stenosis from a combination of those conditions, which usually results in pain, numbness, tingling and/or weakness.
What Age Groups Does It Affect?
These pathologys can occur anywhere in a spectrum of ages as well as in a spectrum of the actual pathology that occurs. Most of the degenerative components occur from longstanding change that occurs over time. However, occasionally there are more acute pathologys such as acute herniated discs or sometimes people can have congenital stenosis where they may have a narrower spinal canal thus not allowing for as much variation or change to occur, so they may have symptoms at an earlier age.
Can It Affect Athletes?
It can effect everyone from those with high athletic capability to those that are doing more at-home exercises and things of that nature. Spinal pathologys are often seen in football players, horseback riders, gymnasts and dancers, but any type of athletic event where you have repetitive movements can increase the degeneration and potentially cause increased problems of the spine that may require additional treatment.
How is a Treatment Determined?
Much of the decision-making process is based on the patient’s history as well as the clinical exam. Some doctors will also use imaging studies, which may include x-rays, CT or a MRI to help guide treatment.
When Does Spinal Pathology Lead to a Need for Surgery?
Surgery is a last resort unless there’s a more urgent necessity to do something. But, in most cases, surgery should be the last resort once all conservative measures have failed.
What is the Recovery Process?
In general, most spine surgery is done primarily for the neurological component that exists. Most of those neurological problems are resolved relatively early in the recovery period, usually within the first few days if not weeks. But as time goes on, patients should expect to continue to have improvement from both their neurological as well as their mechanical symptoms that exist, such as neck or back pain. With time, they should start to see more flexibility and a greater ease with movement.