Standing, walking, holding our heads up—these are all things we do without thinking, and all things for which our spine is responsible. Without a spine, skeletons would basically be a pile of bones with no way to move. Let’s face it, our spine supports our entire body, so any injury to it can be debilitating.
With 24 bones (vertebrae) stacked on top of each other, you can imagine that there are many different types of spine injuries. Luckily, here at Castle Pines Physical Therapy and Cherry Creek Physical Therapy, we can help with your recovery no matter what injury you may have incurred.
There’s a reason why people use the term “a pain in the neck” when referring to something that is really aggravating! Neck pain can not only be uncomfortable, but also annoying. If you can’t look to your side or it hurts to lay your head on a pillow, it can make life difficult. Neck pain can stem from a variety of causes, including abnormalities in the joints or bones, poor posture, muscle strains, degenerative diseases, tumors or trauma.
Your lower back is an intricate collection of tendons, muscles, soft tissues, highly-sensitive nerves, joints, and spinal discs. Clearly, if you have lower back pain, it can be for a number of reasons. It follows then that the severity of pain ranges from mild, intermittent discomfort to spasms that send you to the emergency room. Only after symptoms are identified, and an accurate diagnosis is made, can treatment to relieve pain begin. Typical complications of lower back pain include difficulty moving, stiffness, and radiating pain to other parts of the body.
One common cause of lower back pain, as well as leg pain, is a herniated disc. Also referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc, it involves the five vertebrae that make up what’s known as the lumbar region of your spine. Spinal discs have a gelatinous center. When a disc herniates, the center pushes outward until it breaks through its barrier. This can be the result of a sudden trauma or from wear and tear over time. The jelly-like substance causes the inflammation of spinal nerves causing sciatic leg pain.
There are two types of this spine injury. Lumbar stenosis occurs when the spinal nerves in the lower back are compressed resulting in sciatica symptoms. These include tingling, numbness, and pain radiating from the low back into the buttocks and legs. The pain is most pronounced during activity. Cervical stenosis is far more dangerous because the spinal cord itself is compressed. This can lead to overall weakness and even paralysis.
Radicular pain travels along the spinal nerve root and radiates into the lower extremeties. It occurs when the spinal nerve root is compressed, inflamed, or injured due to a herniated disc, or other common conditions such as peridural fibrosis and foraminal stenosis. Sciatic symptoms result including, numbness, tingling and pain traveling down the leg.
Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SI Joint Pain)
The sacroiliac joint connects the pelvis to the sacrum—the bone at the bottom of the spine. If damaged, lower back and leg pain results. It is believed that an alteration in normal movement of the joint—either too little or too much— can cause this condition.
Because spine injuries differ so greatly, treatments depend on the injury and its underlying cause. Typically, though, neck and back pain treatments include muscle relaxants, pain medication, ice and moist heat packs, and of course physical therapy. In serious cases, surgery may have to be considered. The recovery process depends on the injury as well, but with the help of Castle Pines or Cherry Creek Physical Therapy, you’ll be on the move before you know it! If your neck or back hurts, don’t just suffer through it. Call (303) 805-5156 to make an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Molner, or visit us at our Castle Pines or Cherry Creek, CO, office today.