Complexities of the Spine

Complexities of the Spine

The spine is a very complex part of your body.  It has disks, nerves, a spinal cord, and 33 vertebrae divided into 5 sections: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum and coccyx.  There are joints, ligaments, tendons and muscle surrounding it.  The spine supports your body to walk, twist and move and can hinder multiple areas to the rest of your body when something is amiss.  It is no wonder why one size does not fit all for someone who is experiencing spinal pain.  The complexity in treating it alone requires great skill, incredible knowledge of all these parts and how they affect one another.

We have seen dozens of cases for people needing a spinal surgery.  Not a single case was like the other.  They are almost all unique and never a cut and dry issue like someone needing a joint replacement.  A MRI only assists the surgeon in seeing what is creating pain, however, it is the knowledge of how and where the pain is produced in other areas of the body that they can form a true diagnosis and treatment plan.

A pain questionnaire is normally completed first.  It asks you to describe your pain and list where you are having it.  Is it sharp, intermittent, burning, dull, achy, pins & needles etc.  A whole other series of questions are also asked such as: how far can you walk without pain and for how long, can you go up stairs, does your pain go away while sitting or lying down, does your pain radiate or is it stationary, etc.  Neurosurgeons will do a physical exam checking for the strength you have in your arms and legs to pinpoint which area(s) are affected.  They take all of this detailed information to determine what is truly going on and what the best course of action is.  

Surgery is not always necessary and most definitely not the first treatment plan in the majority of cases, unless it was due to a traumatic injury and requires immediate attention.  There are many treatment plans to try prior to jumping into surgery.  Things like physiotherapy,  cortisone injections, facet joint blocks, rhizotomies, etc. are all non-invasive procedures for treatment to try first.  The goal is to attempt and repair the damage without surgery.  That is always a last resort.  Many times, the muscles surrounding the affected area need to be strengthened to allow the area to heal and that is all that’s needed.  Other times, something like cortisone might be appropriate.  

Regardless, spine ailments are tricky and can sometimes take awhile to determine what is going to work best for you.  It is also not something that can be healed over night.  Most treatment plans need to be tried for a minimum of 6-12 weeks before trying something else.

If you are a candidate for spine surgery and do not want to wait, contact us to have one of our facilities provide you with what might be the best course of action. or 877-344-3544.


Health Vantis


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