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Damage to the spinal cord, an information superhighway that originates in the brain, is a very devastating injury that can lead to paralysis. Most people have heard of traumatic spinal cord injuries because the sudden tragedies grab headlines from time to time. But, few people have heard of spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the tube which shelters the spinal cord called the spinal canal (See Spine Anatomy 101 ). As the space tightens like a noose, this slow strangulation of the nerves in the spine can disrupt anyone’s life. Sara turned 68 years old last month. She has enjoyed good health and has been an avid golfer. But, lately she has noticed an aching pain in her legs that occurs when she is walking or standing. This new problem has really slowed her golf game down and has made it difficult for her to even do her own grocery shopping. The only way she can make it up and down the aisles is by leaning on the shopping cart because that eases her pain. Frustrated, she calls to ...
Cervical spinal surgery is used to correct the part of the spine in the neck, including problems with the bones (vertebrae), disks, and nerves.
Cervical spinal surgery
The cervical spine is part of the spine that runs through the neck area. It consists of seven vertebrae and eight pairs of spinal nerves (called C1 to C8). The two most common problems people have with the cervical spine are herniation and stenosis.
For detailed information on those conditions see:
Herniated intervertebral disk
The specific cervical spine surgery depends on what is causing the problem. The surgery is done while you are under general anesthesia (unconscious and pain-free).
If there is a single herniated disk, then the disk may simply be removed through a surgical cut that is made in either the front or the back of the body.
If more than one disk needs to be removed, the sp...
X-ray - lumbosacral spine; X-ray - lower spine
What abnormal results mean
Lumbosacral spine x-rays may show:
Abnormal curves of the spine
Abnormal wear on the cartilage and bones of the lower spine, such as bone spurs and narrowing of the joints between the vertebrae
Cancer (although cancer often cannot be seen on this type of x-ray)
Signs of thinning bones ( osteoporosis )
, in which a bone (vertebra) in the lower part of the spine slips out of the proper position onto the bone below it
Though some of these findings may be seen on an x-ray, they are not always caused by a person's back.
Many problems in the spine cannot be diagnosed using a lumbosacral x-ray, including:
Slipped or herniated disc
- narrowing of the spinal column
You should know
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