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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 ...
Every painful spine has a pattern. Do you know your pattern? By knowing when it hurts and when it feels better, you can then figure out how to control your spine pain better. Most spines fit into one of two patterns. Pain that is triggered by extension or pain that is triggered by flexion. Let’s break it down into more detail
Extension-triggered pain presents itself in a variety of ways depending on which part of the spine hurts. If the neck is sensitive to extension, then activities like looking up at a ceiling, the sky or looking through the bottom portion of a bifocal lenses will cause the pain to get worse. This type of pain in the neck is usually related to arthritis in the facet joints of the cervical spine. Improving extension-triggered neck pain is accomplished by tucking the chin closer to the chest, strengthening the anterior neck flexor muscles and avoiding looking up.
Extension-triggered pain in the low back usually feels worse when walking or standing....
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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