Monthly Archives: October 2016

Back pain, spinal arthritis and spine fusion surgery

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Back or spine is one of the most important parts of your body. It protects the spinal cord, provides structural balance to the head, shoulders and chest, and helps balance and distribute the weight of your body. Your back also helps you bend, stretch and even rotate so swiftly and smoothly that it makes one wonder what life would be like without this flexibility.

But, this convenience comes with its share of baggage. Problems of the back are all too common, sometimes resulting from your lifestyle habits, sometimes caused by illnesses and injuries, and at other times due to other reasons. Treatment options for back pain range from conventional methods to surgical means. Read more about treatment options at Healthbase.

Anatomy of the spine

Your back and neck contain the spinal column or vertebral column which is made up of 33 individual bones called vertebrae and runs down from your skull to your pelvis. Between the vertebrae are circular pads of cartilage (connective tissue) called discs that are responsible for cushioning the vertebrae when you jump or run.

The spinal column can be divided into four regions (from top to bottom):

  • The 7 vertebrae at the top constitute the neck region or cervical spine

  • The next 12 vertebrae make the upper back or the thoracic region

  • The next 5 vertebrae are the lower back or lumbar vertebrae

  • The last group of bones at the base of the spine are fused together into what is known as the sacrum and coccyx

The lumbar region (low back) is where most of the pain is felt as it supports the weight of the upper body.

Types of back pain

When you have a backache, the pain may originate from the muscles, nerves, bones, vertebral joints, discs or other structures in the spine or the spinal column.

Most back pains are temporary and can be managed with rest and / or medication. Your physician may also prescribe therapy and regular back exercises to keep the pain at bay and your back in shape. However, there are some cases of back pain that are severe or chronic and require surgical invervention.

Spinal osteoarthritis

One cause of such a chronic long-term back pain is spinal arthritis or osteoarthritis of the spine. It is the mechanical breakdown of the cartilage between the vertebral joints in the back portion of the spine leading to mechanically induced pain.

In spinal osteoarthritis, the joints become inflamed and pain may be felt when performing even the simplest of activities like standing, sitting or walking. Over time, bone spurs i.e. small irregular growths on the bone, also called osteophytes, typically form on the vertebral joints and around the spinal vertebrae which may become so large as to cause irritation or entrapment of nerves passing through spinal structures and result in spinal stenosis (diminished room for the nerves to pass).

Classification of spinal osteoarthritis

When stiffness and pain are in the lower spine (lumbar spine) and sacroiliac joint (between the spine and the pelvis), it is classified as lower back osteoarthritis or lumbosacral arthritis. When the stiffness and pain are in the upper spine, neck, shoulders, arms and head, it is classified as neck (cervical spine) osteoarthritis or cervical spondylosis.

Causes of spinal osteoarthritis

The most common causes of spinal osteoarthritis are repetitive trauma to the spine from repetitive strains caused by accidents, surgery, sports injuries and poor posture. Other risk factors include aging, gender (more common in post-menopausal women), excess body weight, genetics, and associated diseases (like infections, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.).

Spine fusion surgery

For spinal arthritis, the only effective surgical treatment is spine fusion surgery which stops motion at the painful joint. In fusion, one or more of the vertebrae of the spine are united (fused together) using bone grafts so that motion no longer occurs between them.

Spinal fusion surgery is used to treat:

  • a fractured (broken) vertebra e.g. spondylolisthesis

  • deformity e.g. scoliosis or kyphosis (spinal curves or slippages)

  • pain from painful motion

  • instability

  • some cervical disc herniations (fusion together with discectomy)

  • weak or unstable spine caused by infections or tumors

If you need a spine fusion surgery and are uninsured, check out the medical tourism option that enables you to receive top quality surgery at a substantially discounted price.


Source by Healthbase


What Causes Lower Left Side Back Pain?

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Many people experience lower left side back pain, which can last for days, weeks or months at a time. Common symptoms may include localized pain below the ribs and around the side of the torso. In addition, lower left side back pain may be intermittent in frequency in which the pain may be more tolerable during certain hours of the day. Often times, people who have lower left side back pain will notice a stabbing-like pain or dull, aching pain. Many people may also be hyper-sensitive to touch, which stays localized to the lower left side of the back. For others, the pain remains unaffected even with changes in dietary habits. Some people who have lower left side back pain may also experience pain and discomfort when taking deep breaths, lying still or during exercise. Changes in bowel movements may also be accompanied with lower left side back pain.

Frustration can be a common emotion for many people experiencing this pain because many doctors have trouble finding an accurate diagnosis. Even extensive testing such as medical imaging, colonoscopy, ultrasound, heart scan, blood tests, urine tests and stool tests may all come out normal.

Your doctor may prescribe pain medication, which may or may not help alleviate your pain. Although it is difficult to remain patient during period, please remember that lower left side back pain can be caused by many factors, which make it very difficult to diagnose your condition. If you and your doctor have tried every approach to diagnosing and treating your pain, ask your physician to refer you to a specialist. If you have tried this approach without much success, you may want to consider seeing a new physician. Doctors are very knowledgeable about medical conditions but some may have more expertise and relevant experience with your particular condition.

Here is a list of conditions which can cause lower left side back pain:

Hypochondrial pain: Symptoms include pain under the rib cage, which can be referred from the colon or spleen.

Ectopic pregnancy: A woman with a developing ectopic pregnancy may not display any signs or symptoms of being pregnant. Symptoms include lower abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, cramping or stabbing pain around the pelvic area, dizziness and felling lightheaded.

Endometriosis: Symptoms may include pain in the pelvis, abdomen and lower back. Heavy flow of vaginal bleeding may accompany these symptoms.

Pancreatitis: Symptoms that are chronic may include indigestion, abdominal pain, back pain, weight loss and steatorrhea (stool that is appears oily and foul smelling).

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Also known as spastic colon, IBS may be accompanied by abdominal pain, diarrhea, headaches, low back pain and chest pain.

Peptic Ulcer: Symptoms may include a burning pain in the chest, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, change in appetite and back pain.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder: Symptoms may include heartburn, chest pain, back pain, difficulty swallowing or dry cough.

Gastrointestinal bleeding: Common causes include esophageal varices, stomach ulcer, erosions of the esophagus, duodenum or stomach; duodenal ulcer, abnormal blood vessels, colon cancer, anal fissures, colon polyps, diverticulosis, inflammatory bowel disease, internal hemorrhoids and inflammation of the large bowels.

Celiac Disease: Symptoms of celiac disease may mimic those of other conditions such as anemia, parasite infections, irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcers and skin disorders. Symptoms may include joint pain, weight loss, back pain, weakness and fatigue, bone disorders such as osteoporosis, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and anemia.

Radicular pain: This occurs when there is irritation or compression along the nerves exiting the spine. Symptoms include pain that is accompanied by weakness, numbness or a tingling sensation. Causes of radicular pain can be due to injury, trauma, soft tissue, disc herniation, facet syndrome or bony changes to the vertebral column.

Kidney stones: Symptoms include pain below the ribs, pain around the torso and back pain. It is also common to experience pain radiating into the lower abdomen and groin region. Other symptoms include pain during urination, nausea and vomiting.

Gallstones: Symptoms may include pain between the shoulder blades, pain in the center and upper right region of the abdomen, back pain and pain into the right shoulder. Additional symptoms may include abdominal pain after eating meals.

Problems with the adrenal gland: Common symptoms include headaches, dizziness when standing up or changing positions quickly, sensitivity to bright lights, low back pain.


Source by Judge Abrams


The Possible Causes of Right Side Back Pain

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Back pain is common among adults and it can lead to serious back problems if left untreated. The large majority of upper and lower back pain is caused by muscle strain, and will take care of itself over a period of time with the help of over the counter medications or other natural remedies.

Right side back pain, however, may have other causes, which may warrant a visit to the doctor for a definitive diagnosis and effective treatment plan. It is important to understand what some of the causes of right side back pain might be.

The Possibility of Infection

If you are experiencing pain on the right side of your body that begins as a dull ache and gradually increases in intensity, and is accompanied by other symptoms like fever and nausea, you may have a urinary tract infection. Other symptoms of an infection may include a burning sensation while urinating or a constant pressure in the bladder.

If you suspect that the reason for your right side back pain might be a urinary tract infection, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor. He or she can do a urine test to determine whether you do indeed have an infection, and prescribe medication if necessary.

It Could Be a Hernia

A hernia could be another reason for your right side back pain, especially if the pain is localized to the lower back area. Although a hernia is not a life-threatening condition, it does require treatment by a doctor to avoid possible complications and further pain.

In many cases, the best course of action for a hernia is surgery. The good news is that by repairing the hernia, you will be able to get rid of your right side back pain once and for all.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is another condition that can cause right side back pain. This type of pain is generally more widespread, and may include other symptoms like bloating, gas, nausea and fatigue. Irritable bowel syndrome can be treated through a high fiber diet and an increased intake of liquids.

Your doctor may also prescribe medications or other types of treatment to care for your irritable bowel syndrome. If you get this potentially painful condition under control through these methods, you should notice a significant reduction in the pain on the right side of your back as well.

There are a number of reasons why you could be experiencing right side back pain. That is why it is a good idea to see your doctor about your back pain so that you can get an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan. Good luck on your journey towards health and wellness!


Source by Brue Baker