A spine disorder is any condition that affects the spine — the bones and tissue in the center of your back that protect the spinal cord. Common spine disorders are back pain, sciatica, slipped (herniated) discs, and scoliosis.
Expert neurological care is available at Dignity Health, including spine treatment in Arizona. Our Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s location has been named a top neurological hospital by US News and World Report. Use our online Find a Doctor tool to make an appointment today.
Symptoms of Spine Problems
Signs and symptoms of a spine disorder depend on the severity and location of the problem. Symptoms may come and go with activity, or they may worsen over time. Pain is often the primary sign of a spine disorder.
Other common signs and symptoms of a spine disorder are:
- Back or neck pain, which may be sharp and shooting or chronic and dull
- Difficulty with movement
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- Weakness in the legs
- Abnormal curve of the spine
- Muscle spasms or tightness
Rarely, a spine disorder will also affect bowel or bladder function.
Causes of Spine Problems
Common causes of spine disorders include:
- Injury, including sports-related injuries and accidents
- Genetics, including genetic syndromes and inherited conditions such as scoliosis
- Overuse, including repetitive movements — such as frequent bending or twisting — that can cause spinal problems over time
- Infections, including infection of the bones and tissues protecting the spine, a spinal disc, or the spinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
- Aging, including loss of bone and the weakening of bone and tissues that make up the spine, which may cause spine disorders such as herniated discs
- Tumors, whether benign or malignant (c)ancerous, can damage the bony vertebrae and sensitive spinal nerve tissue
Spine Treatment at Dignity Health
Treatment options depend on the type of disorder you have, the severity of the disorder, and its impact on your life. Treatment efforts focus on relieving pain, improving function, and preventing further damage.
Treatment options are:
- Watchful waiting and activity modification. If your spine disorder isn’t disrupting your life, your doctor may recommend monitoring your condition over time and adapting your movements.
- Physical therapy. Physical therapists teach specific exercises tailored to each person’s condition.
- Medication. Doctors commonly prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, pain medication, and muscle relaxants.
- Bracing. Rigid or soft braces are sometimes used to stabilize and support the spine.
- Injections. Steroid injections can relieve pain and swelling temporarily.
- Radiation therapy. Precisely localized radiation, such as gamma knife surgery, can treat spinal tumors and relieve symptoms.
- Surgery. Most spine disorders can be treated without surgery. However, surgery may be necessary to correct a deformity or repair damage.
Your doctor will help you understand your spine problem and available treatment options. With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, most people experience significant relief from their symptoms.
Dignity Health provides personal care through spine treatment in Arizona.