General Back

General Back Conditions

Dealing with back issues as we age can be challenging. But with our comprehensive range of treatments, including surgery when necessary, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Whether it’s spinal stenosis, herniated discs, or compression fractures, we have the expertise to address them all. Our goal? To help you get back to your favorite activities, free from pain and discomfort.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis affects the lower back but can also occur in the neck, though less commonly. As we grow older, our bodies undergo changes, and spinal stenosis tends to develop gradually, typically becoming noticeable after age 50. Various factors contribute to its onset, including conditions like or natural structural aspects of the spine.

Symptoms can be quite difficult and include:

  • Achy or crampy calves, making walking difficult (often mistaken for a circulation issue)
  • Tingling, numbness, or pain spreading from the lower back into the legs and buttocks
  • Neck or lower back pain
  • Pins and needles or cramps in the arms
  • Weakness in the arms or legs

Herniated Disc

Herniated discs, also known as ruptured or slipped discs, are a common source of back problems. This occurs when one of the cartilage discs between your vertebrae ruptures or slips out of place. Symptoms may include shooting pain down both legs, weakness in one or both legs, a burning sensation in the buttock or leg, and increased discomfort when sitting, bending, or sneezing.

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)

DDD occurs as your body undergoes wear and tear over the years, resulting in the cushions between the bones in your spine wearing out. This can lead to discomfort and reduced mobility, typically affecting the lower back but also potentially impacting the neck or mid-back.

Common causes include:

  • Drying out of the discs
  • Wear and tear from daily activities and sports
  • Injuries causing swelling and soreness

Symptoms may include:

  • On-and-off pain in the lower back, buttocks, or upper thighs
  • Increased pain with sitting, bending, or twisting
  • Relief with changing positions or lying down

Compression Fractures

Compression fractures occur when the bones in your spine give in and collapse, often due to factors like osteoporosis, spine tumors, traumatic injuries, or cancer spreading to the bones.

Symptoms to watch out for:

  • Persistent back pain
  • Worsening pain when upright but easing when lying down
  • Difficulty with bending or twisting
  • Loss of height
  • Curvature of the spine (kyphosis)
  • Stomach or breathing issues
  • Hip pain

Adult Degenerative Scoliosis

Adult Degenerative Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves sideways, often occurring as people age. Instead of maintaining its natural straight alignment, the spine may take on an “S” or “C” shape.

Signs of potential issues include experiencing backache or low back pain, feeling numbness, weakness, or pain in the legs, observing a noticeable curve or lean in the back, noticing a hump forming, and observing differences in the height of the hips and shoulders.

Nonunion

Nonunion is a condition that occurs when a broken bone struggles to heal properly. Several factors can contribute to this phenomenon. Firstly, infections can disrupt the healing process, acting as unwelcome guests that interfere with the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Additionally, insufficient blood flow to the bone can hinder its ability to mend properly. Sometimes, the fractured ends of the bone may choose not to unite, further complicating the healing process. In other cases, the bone may require additional support to facilitate proper healing. These various factors can impede the bone’s journey toward recovery, leading to the development of nonunion.

Signs to watch for:

  • Pain may persist, signaling that something isn’t quite right.
  • Swelling and tenderness may occur, indicating that your body is still in recovery mode.
  • Look out for any physical deformities in the affected area.
  • Difficulty bearing weight on the bone, even after some time has passed since the break.

Trauma/Accidents

The aftermath of car accidents, falls, and everyday mishaps can result in more than just bumps and bruises – they can cause fractures, wounds, and significant damage to the bones, joints, and muscles of your back.

How do you know when it’s more than a minor injury?

  • Severe back pain or pressure, possibly extending into your neck or head, could indicate a serious issue.
  • Notice any weakness, lack of coordination, or paralysis in any part of your body? It’s time to pay attention.
  • Keep an eye out for numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation in your hands, feet, or toes – these are warning signs.
  • In extreme cases, difficulty controlling your bladder or bowel functions signals a need for immediate medical attention.
Neck and Upper Back

Neck & Upper Back

Dealing with chronic neck and upper back pain, also referred to as thoracic spine pain, can really put a damper on your day, especially if it leads to recurring headaches. There are several reasons why you might experience this discomfort – from slouching at your desk to overdoing it at the gym, or even conditions like osteoarthritis or a pinched nerve.

Whether it’s due to a minor accident or something more serious like cervical myelopathy, we’re here to help. Our comprehensive range of treatments, from surgery to more conservative options, is aimed at alleviating your pain and restoring your quality of life.

Whiplash (Cervical Strain/Sprain)

Cervical strain or sprain, commonly known as whiplash, occurs due to sudden, forceful movements of the neck, resembling the cracking of a whip. Whether from a minor car accident or a tumble during sports, whiplash can be triggered by various incidents. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, your body may be signaling there’s an issue:

  • Persistent neck pain and stiffness
  • Worsening pain with neck movement
  • Reduced neck flexibility compared to before
  • Headaches, often originating at the base of the skull
  • Additional tenderness or pain spreading to the shoulders, upper back, or arms

Neck Pain and Myofascial Pain

Neck pain or myofascial pain, occurring around the spine beneath the head, can stem from various factors. These may include degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, or a pinched nerve. Additionally, whiplash resulting from accidents, mental stress, physical strain due to repetitive actions, poor posture, excess weight, weak abdominal muscles, or certain health conditions such as meningitis or cancer can contribute to this discomfort.

Symptoms of neck pain or myofascial pain may manifest as a persistent ache, stabbing or burning sensations, heightened sensitivity to mild pressure on the neck, headaches accompanied by neck pain, numbness or tingling in the arms, or increased tension in the neck muscles.

Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical Radiculopathy, akin to a pinched nerve in your neck or upper back, occurs when a nerve becomes compressed or irritated, disrupting its connection to your spine. Ignoring it can lead to potentially serious issues, including paralysis.

Several factors can contribute to this nerve compression, such as a bulging disc, degeneration of bones, arthritis, injuries exerting pressure on nerve roots, or the presence of tumors or growths in the spine. When cervical radiculopathy occurs, you may experience symptoms like tingling or numbness in your fingers or hands, muscle weakness, or even loss of coordination or reflexes in your arms or legs.

Cervical Myelopathy

Cervical myelopathy occurs when the spinal cord functions improperly, resulting in nerve-related symptoms. This condition affects the neck area and, if left untreated, can lead to significant and permanent nerve damage.

Various factors can contribute to spinal cord compression, including the wear and tear of everyday activities, flare-ups of rheumatoid arthritis in the neck, whiplash from minor accidents, or the presence of infections or tumors in the spine.

Recognizing the signs is crucial. Symptoms may include neck pain or stiffness, difficulty moving your neck as usual, weakness or tingling sensations in your arms and hands, or a sense of clumsiness when handling small objects.

Cervical Deformity

Cervical deformity refers to an abnormal head position, often resulting from misaligned bones in the neck and upper back. If left unaddressed, this condition can significantly impact daily activities such as posture and swallowing.

What leads to this head tilt? It may stem from a gradual breakdown of intervertebral discs and vertebrae over time or from factors like injury or inflammatory conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis.

Your body may provide signals when out of alignment, including neck pain, weakness in the arms, hands, feet, or legs, tingling or numbness in these areas, difficulties with balance or walking, and, in severe cases, issues with bladder or bowel function.

Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical Radiculopathy, akin to a pinched nerve in your neck or upper back, occurs when a nerve becomes compressed or irritated, disrupting its connection to your spine. Ignoring it can lead to potentially serious issues, including paralysis.

Several factors can contribute to this nerve compression, such as a bulging disc, degeneration of bones, arthritis, injuries exerting pressure on nerve roots, or the presence of tumors or growths in the spine.

When cervical radiculopathy occurs, you may experience symptoms like tingling or numbness in your fingers or hands, muscle weakness, or even loss of coordination or reflexes in your arms or legs.

Cervical Myelopathy

Cervical myelopathy occurs when the spinal cord functions improperly, resulting in nerve-related symptoms. This condition affects the neck area and, if left untreated, can lead to significant and permanent nerve damage.

Various factors can contribute to spinal cord compression, including the wear and tear of everyday activities, flare-ups of rheumatoid arthritis in the neck, whiplash from minor accidents, or the presence of infections or tumors in the spine.

Recognizing the signs is crucial. Symptoms may include neck pain or stiffness, difficulty moving your neck as usual, weakness or tingling sensations in your arms and hands, or a sense of clumsiness when handling small objects.

Cervical Deformity

Cervical deformity refers to an abnormal head position, often resulting from misaligned bones in the neck and upper back. If left unaddressed, this condition can significantly impact daily activities such as posture and swallowing.

What leads to this head tilt? It may stem from a gradual breakdown of intervertebral discs and vertebrae over time or from factors like injury or inflammatory conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis.
Your body may provide signals when out of alignment, including neck pain, weakness in the arms, hands, feet, or legs, tingling or numbness in these areas, difficulties with balance or walking, and, in severe cases, issues with bladder or bowel function.

Middle Back Pain

Mid-Back

Mid-back pain, located between the upper and lower back, known as the thoracic spine, varies in intensity from mild to severe and can be either temporary or chronic. While not as prevalent as lower back pain, it can still cause significant discomfort, including sharp stabbing sensations, cramps, or muscle stiffness.

With a variety of cutting-edge procedures at our disposal, we’re equipped to address conditions stemming from accidents, injuries, or deformities, such as vertebral compression fractures, kyphosis, or scoliosis. Our goal is to provide effective solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of aging individuals.

Vertebral Compression Fractures

Vertebral Compression Fractures occur when one of the vertebrae, the bones that form your spinal column, partially collapses. This can result from trauma to the spine or a weakening of the bone structure.

Several factors contribute to this collapse:

  • Osteoporotic compression fractures, caused by weakened bones due to osteoporosis.
  • Pathologic compression fractures, resulting from tumors invading the spine.
  • Traumatic injuries such as falls or car accidents.
  • Cancer spreading to the bones, weakening the vertebrae.

When dealing with a compression fracture, your body may exhibit various symptoms, including back pain, particularly when standing or walking, but relieved when lying down. Other signs may include difficulty bending or twisting, loss of height, a stooped posture, stomach or breathing issues, or hip pain.

Mid-back Pain (Thoracic)

Mid-back Pain (Thoracic) occurs when the thoracic spine, which connects the neck to the lower back, experiences discomfort. This type of pain settles in the chest or upper back, affecting the upper part of the body, known as the thorax. Trauma, such as falls or accidents, can trigger mid-back pain, while overuse injuries are common among individuals engaged in heavy physical work. Additionally, severe lung infections can also lead to thoracic pain. Conditions like a “slipped” disc or a rib fracture can significantly contribute to discomfort as well.

When experiencing mid-back pain, muscles may feel tense, resulting in a general ache over a wider area. Additionally, irritation or pinching of nerves can cause electric shocks in the arm(s). Furthermore, sharp pain in the upper back may indicate a backbone fracture.

Kyphosis

Kyphosis refers to the excessive forward curvature of the upper back, leading to noticeable rounding. While a slight curve in the spine is typical, anything exceeding 45 degrees is considered a deformity. This condition can stem from various factors, including metabolic issues, neuromuscular conditions, or conditions like osteogenesis imperfecta, which causes bone fragility. Additionally, conditions such as spina bifida may contribute to kyphosis.

When kyphosis occurs, several signs may become apparent, such as a noticeable difference in shoulder height, forward bending of the head compared to the body’s rest, or changes in the height or positioning of shoulder blades. Individuals may also observe an increased height of the upper back during forward bending or experience tightness in hamstring muscles and back pain.

Thoracic Deformity/Scoliosis

Thoracic Deformity, commonly known as scoliosis, refers to a sideways twist of the rib cage and spine in the middle portion, leading to asymmetry in the trunk’s appearance.

Causes:

  • Neuromuscular conditions such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy
  • Birth defects affecting spine bone development
  • Previous chest wall surgeries during infancy
  • Injuries or infections of the spine
  • Abnormalities in the spinal cord
  • Age-related wear and tear on the back
  • Complications from past surgeries

Symptoms:

  • Uneven shoulders
  • Prominent shoulder blade on one side
  • Asymmetrical waistline
  • Higher hip on one side
  • Forward jutting of one side of the rib cage
  • Prominence on one side of the back when bending forward
Lower Back

Low Back Pain

Low back pain is a common discomfort often characterized by a dull ache in the lower back region, and it can be accompanied by symptoms such as leg pain, numbness, or weakness. Several factors can contribute to low back pain, including herniated discs, where a spinal disc protrudes and presses on nearby nerves, causing discomfort. Additionally, damage to the lumbar spine can exert pressure on spinal nerves or lead to inflammation, resulting in nerve irritation or swelling. Symptoms associated with low back pain can vary and may include hip pain and sciatica, incontinence, or sexual dysfunction in severe cases, as well as leg paralysis or weakness. Other symptoms may comprise shooting leg pains and sensations of tingling, numbness, or weakness in the shoulder, arm, hand, or fingers.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is frequently attributed to strains in the muscles or tendons of the back. Despite its prevalence, it can significantly disrupt daily activities, making sitting or exercising difficult. Common causes of lower back pain may include arthritis, structural issues, or disk injuries. Our team of board-certified physicians specializes in providing personalized treatment plans for various conditions, including lumbar strain, lumbar spondylosis, and vertebral compression fractures, among others.

Lumbar Pain

Lumbar strain or sprain occurs when the muscles or ligaments in the lower back sustain stretching or tearing. This can result from various factors, including abnormal stretching or tearing of muscle fibers, excessive curvature of the lower back, being overweight, or having weak back or abdominal muscles, as well as tight hamstrings.

Symptoms of lumbar strain or sprain typically include pain exacerbated by movement, muscle cramping or spasms, and diminished joint function or range of motion. This can make activities such as walking, bending forward or sideways, or standing straight challenging. Some individuals may also experience a sensation of popping or tearing at the time of injury.

Lumbar Spondylosis

Lumbar Spondylosis, also known as Facet Joint Pain, refers to the wear and tear on the facet joints, the small connections between the bones in your spine. It’s a natural result of aging, where the discs between your spine bones begin to break down. This degeneration is primarily caused by the normal wear and tear of daily activities, compounded by the effects of arthritis.

When lumbar spondylosis flares up, you may experience tenderness and sensitivity to touch over the spinal joint, muscle spasms, or pain that worsens at night or after prolonged periods of poor posture, such as hunching or slouching while seated. In some cases, inflammation of the facet joints can lead to pressure on nerves, resulting in nerve pain.

Spondylosis

Spondylosis is a condition where a vertebral disc in the spinal column shifts position. This movement can be either outward, known as anterolisthesis, or inward, referred to as retrolisthesis. Often, spondylosis develops following spondylolysis, a degenerative issue affecting the vertebrae.

What are the common causes of spondylosis?

  • Bone disorders
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Fractures
  • Overuse injuries of the spine
  • Trauma

When spondylosis manifests, individuals may experience:

  • Lower back pain
  • Back stiffness and tightness in the hamstring muscles due to spasms
  • Pain in the thighs and buttocks
  • Reduced range of motion in the lower back
  • Leg pain, weakness, or numbness caused by nerve compression
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control due to severe nerve compression
  • Increased lordosis curve, known as swayback
  • Kyphosis, characterized by a rounded back

Vertebral Compression Fractures

Vertebral Compression Fractures occur when one of the vertebrae, the bones comprising the spine, partially collapses. This can result from trauma or weakening of the bone structure.

Causes of these fractures include osteoporotic compression fractures, which arise from the weakening of bones due to osteoporosis, and pathologic compression fractures, typically caused by primary or metastatic tumors affecting the spine. Additionally, traumatic injuries to the spine, such as those from falls or car accidents, and the metastatic spread of cancer to the bones can contribute to these fractures.

Symptoms associated with vertebral compression fractures include:

  • Back pain
  • Pain exacerbated by standing or walking but alleviated when lying down
  • Difficulty bending or twisting the body
  • Loss of height
  • Kyphosis, characterized by a curved, stooped shape of the spine
  • Stomach or breathing issues
  • Hip pain

Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Sacroiliac Joint Pain presents as discomfort in the lower back and buttocks, often exacerbated by activities such as prolonged sitting or standing, standing on one leg, transitioning between sitting and standing, or climbing stairs.

Several factors can contribute to this discomfort, including traumatic injuries such as sudden impacts from motor vehicle accidents or falls, as well as conditions like arthritis, pregnancy, or infection.

Symptoms indicative of sacroiliac joint pain include lower back pain, along with pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the lower back region. Discomfort may also extend to the pelvis or buttocks, and individuals may experience hip or groin pain. Sensations of leg instability, such as buckling or giving way, disturbed sleep patterns, and difficulty sitting for extended periods, are also common indicators of sacroiliac joint issues.

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS) is a condition characterized by ongoing pain despite having undergone previous back or spine surgery. This persistent pain can develop either after the surgery or exacerbate existing discomfort that was not adequately alleviated by the procedure.

Symptoms of FBSS typically include enduring pain following back surgery. This pain can vary in intensity and may present as dull, sharp, or radiating sensations in the back or legs, often accompanied by stiffness or limited mobility.

To assess the condition of the spine and identify any underlying issues contributing to persistent pain post-surgery, various imaging techniques such as X-rays, EOS Imaging, MRI scans, CT scans, or bone scans may be utilized.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic and progressive condition characterized by persistent pain affecting the skin, muscles, joints, and bones. It commonly develops in an arm or leg following an injury, surgery, stroke, or heart attack.

The causes of CRPS can vary, ranging from minor injuries like sprains to more severe trauma such as nerve damage or fractures. Prolonged periods of immobility, such as those experienced during recovery from a broken leg, can also contribute to its onset.

Symptoms of CRPS include:

  • Severe burning pain
  • Heightened sensitivity to even mild stimuli, like clothing or gentle touch
  • Changes in skin color and texture, initially appearing warm and red, later becoming cool and bluish
  • Swelling
  • Excessive sweating
  • Alterations in bone and skin tissue
  • Muscle spasms
  • Restricted motion
  • Joint tenderness and stiffness

An Overview

At Florida Spine Associates, diagnostic tools play a crucial role in accurately identifying and understanding various back conditions. These tools are like detective tools for our doctors, helping them uncover the root causes of pain and discomfort in your spine. Let’s break down why these tools are so important:

  1. X-rays: These provide detailed images of your bones, allowing doctors to spot fractures, deformities, and structural issues in your spine.
  2. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): This powerful tool gives doctors a closer look at your spine’s soft tissues. It helps them identify injuries, nerve compression, and even tumors that may be causing your pain.
  3. CT scan (Computed Tomography): Similar to MRI, CT scans provide detailed images of your spine, but in cross-sections. This helps doctors identify fractures, tumors, or conditions like spinal stenosis.
  4. Electrodiagnosis (EMG): This test measures how well your muscles and nerves are working together. It’s particularly helpful in diagnosing nerve-related issues like pinched nerves or muscle weakness.
  5. EOS Imaging: This cutting-edge technology provides full-body, weight-bearing images. It helps doctors assess your spinal alignment and identify any deformities that may be contributing to your pain.
  6. Bone Scan: This test detects abnormalities in bone metabolism. It’s essential for diagnosing conditions like fractures, infections, or bone disorders that may be causing your back pain.
  7. Ultrasound: This tool provides real-time images of soft tissues and structures. It helps doctors visualize joint abnormalities or fluid buildup, which could be contributing to your discomfort.
  8. Discography: By injecting contrast dye into spinal discs, doctors can identify sources of back pain or disc abnormalities that may require treatment.
  9. Selective Nerve Root Injection: This procedure delivers medication directly to specific nerves in your spine, helping to alleviate pain and diagnose nerve-related issues.
  10. Myelography: Using contrast dye and X-rays, this test visualizes your spinal cord and nerve roots. It’s particularly useful for diagnosing spinal conditions that may not be visible on other imaging tests.

By using these diagnostic tools, our doctors can get a complete picture of your spine’s health and pinpoint the exact cause of your pain. This allows them to develop personalized treatment plans tailored to your specific needs, helping you get back to living comfortably and pain-free.

Continued

Florida Spine Associates offers a comprehensive array of tools to best help you diagnose your symptoms appropriately, giving you confidence and peace of mind:

Diagnostic ToolImportance
X-raysProvide detailed images of bones and can detect fractures, bone deformities, and structural abnormalities.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)Produces detailed images of the spine, helping diagnose soft tissue injuries, spinal cord compression, and tumors.
CT scan (Computed Tomography)Offers detailed cross-sectional images of the spine, useful for identifying fractures, tumors, or spinal stenosis.
Electrodiagnosis (EMG)Measures muscle response or electrical activity in response to nerve stimulation, aiding in nerve-related diagnoses.
EOS ImagingProduces full-body, weight-bearing images, helping assess spinal alignment and deformities.
Bone ScanDetects abnormalities in bone metabolism, useful for diagnosing fractures, infections, or bone disorders.
UltrasoundProvides real-time images of soft tissues and structures, helpful for visualizing joint abnormalities or fluid buildup.
DiscographyInvolves the injection of contrast dye into the spinal discs to identify sources of back pain or disc abnormalities.
Selective Nerve Root InjectionAdministers medication directly to specific nerves in the spine to alleviate pain and diagnose nerve-related issues.
MyelographyUses contrast dye and X-rays to visualize the spinal cord and nerve roots, aiding in the diagnosis of spinal conditions.