Your spine is one of the most important parts of your body. Quite a few of the major muscles in your body connect to the spine, but its most essential function is protecting your spinal cord. Your spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that carries signals from your brain to your body. If you have spinal problems, you may be plagued with symptoms ranging from headaches and fatigue to severe pain. This pain can make it nearly impossible to live a normal life.
When Things Go Wrong
The spine is a complex system, and as a system becomes more complex, the potential for things to go wrong also increases. Though there are many potential causes of neck and back pain, the most common causes are soft tissue damage and bone damage.
Soft Tissue Damage
Soft tissues of the spine include muscles, nerves, and vertebral discs. Problems affecting any of these may not only be painful, they may also limit your ability to function. The preliminary treatment for soft tissue damage is typically rest and physical therapy. Patients may be given analgesic medications to reduce swelling and manage pain. In severe cases or cases where these treatments are ineffective, surgery may be a good option. Talk to a physician to determine which option is best for you.
The second of the most common causes of neck and back pain is bone damage. This condition is often caused by injury, though diseases like osteoarthritis or osteoporosis may also lead to bone damage. In mild cases, braces and medication may be the only treatments required. In severe cases, there are surgical options. One of the most common surgeries to correct bone damage is a spinal fusion. In a spinal fusion procedure, the deteriorating bones of the spine are stabilized with metal rods, plates, or pins. Spinal fusion patients may require a year or more to reach full recovery, but the alternative is often debilitating pain or paralysis.
If you or a loved one have been struggling with neck or back pain for longer than a few weeks, there may be a serious medical issue involved. You should consult a competent physician who will help you determine what is causing the pain and recommend a course of treatment. If you would like to learn more about spinal surgery, click here to download our free e-book, The Patient’s Manual to Spine Surgery.