The spine is made up of many bones called vertebrae which are circular . Between each of these vertebra is a disc which are made of a strong rubber-like tissue allowing the spine to be fairly flexible. A disc has a stronger fibrous outer part, and a softer jelly-like middle part called the nucleus populous.
The spine protects the spinal cord, which contains the nerves that come from the brain. Nerves from the spinal cord come out from between the vertebrae to take and receive messages to various parts of the body. Strong ligaments attach to the vertebrae. These give extra support and strength to the spine. Various muscles also surround, and are attached to various parts of the spine.
What is a Slipped Disc ?
When you have a a slipped disc, part of the inner softer part of the disc bulges out through a weakness in the outer part of the disc. This bulging disc may press on the nearby nerves and in the process there may be inflammation around the prolapsed part of the disc.
Most prolapsed discs occur in the lumbar part of the spine (lower back).
Who gets a Slipped Disc?
• Overweight individuals
• Weak muscles and a sedentary lifestyle
• Older people as the discs begin to lose some of their protective water
• Weight bearing sports
Symptoms of a slipped disk
• Pain and numbness, most commonly on one side of the body
• Pain that extends to your arms or legs
• Pain that worsens at night or with certain movements
• Pain that worsens after standing or sitting
• Pain when walking short distances
• Unexplained muscle weakness
• Tingling, aching, or burning sensations in the affected area
How is a slipped disc diagnosed
• A physical exam for the source of your pain and discomfort.
• Medical history and your symptoms
• The activities cause your pain to worsen
Tests to diagnose a slipped disc
Spondylosis is the degeneration of the spinal column from any cause. In the more narrow sense it refers to spinal osteoarthrosis. If severe, it may cause pressure on nerve roots with subsequent sensory or motor disturbances, such as pain and muscle weakness in the limbs.
When the space between two adjacent vertebrae narrows, compression of a nerve root emerging from the spinal cord may result in sensory and motor disturbances, such as severe pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, back, or leg, accompanied by muscle weakness).
If vertebra of the neck are involved it is labelled cervical spondylosis. Lower back spondylosis is labeled lumbar spondylosis.
• Medication and Exercise
Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. The cause of most scoliosis is unknown.
Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but some develop spine deformities with time. Severe scoliosis can be disabling. An especially severe spinal curve can reduce the amount of space within the chest, making it difficult for the lungs to function properly.
Severe cases may need surgery to keep the scoliosis from worsening and to straighten severe cases of scoliosis.
• Uneven shoulders
• One shoulder that appears more prominent than the other
• Uneven waist
A spinal tumour is an abnormal growth of cells in the spine.If cells in the spine grow and multiply abnormally to cause a spinal tumour, this is called a primary tumour. If abnormal cells have spread to the spine from a tumour in another part of the body, this is called a secondary tumour or a metastasis (‘secondaries’ or metastases when talking about more than one).
What are the different types of spinal tumours and where do they occur?
Primary tumours are graded by doctors according to the speed at which they are growing. Slower-growing tumours are given lower grades (grades 1 and 2) and faster-growing tumours are given higher grades (grades 3 and 4).
Benign or non cancerous spinal tumours
Low grade spinal tumours can grow but they do not spread and they do not cause secondary tumours to grow in other parts of the body. However, these tumours can grow to a considerable size, causing damage by putting pressure on the tissue around them in the spine.
A ‘benign condition’ is one that doesn’t cause harm whereas in fact all spinal tumours have the potential to cause significant harm, even if they are slow growing and less aggressive when they are discovered
Malignant or cancerous spinal tumours
High grade spinal tumours are referred to as ‘malignant’ spinal tumours are cancerous. They do spread and destroy the tissue surrounding them. They can also cause tumours to grow in other parts of the body, though this is unusual for spinal cord tumours.
Malignant primary tumours in the prostate, breasts, lungs, kidneys and bowel are the most common sources of malignant metastases in the spine.
A spinal cord injury indicates damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal causing permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions below the site of the injury
Complete: If almost all feeling (sensory) and all ability to control movement (motor function) are lost below the spinal cord injury, your injury is called complete.
Incomplete: If you have some motor or sensory function below the affected area, your injury is called incomplete. There are varying degrees of incomplete injury.
Tetraplegia: Also known as quadriplegia, this means your arms, hands, trunk, legs and pelvic organs are all affected by your spinal cord injury.
Paraplegia: This paralysis affects all or part of the trunk, legs and pelvic organs.
Symptoms of a spinal cord injury
• Loss of movement
• Loss of sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold and touch
• Loss of bowel or bladder control
• Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
• Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity
• Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing secretions from your lungs
What is Cervical Spine Surgery ?
Cervical Spine Surgery is a medical procedure which aims at lessening pain, weakness, tingling and numbness associated with the cervical spine, which is a summation of seven vertebrae. The surgery also looks into the matter of correcting deformities in the spine function and helps to restore a proper level of nerve function.
When is it necessary to have Cervical Spine Surgery ?
The need of a Cervical Spine Surgery arises when a degenerative disease or deformity takes place. Due to deformities or degenerative disease, the intervertebral disc contracts and thus causes breaking down of the disc. The breaking down may also lead to disc herniation, also known as bulging of the disc. As a result of degeneration disease, a patient tends to feel pain, numbness, weakness and stinging. The surgery is beneficial for alleviating anxiety on the spinal cord.
Who should consider Cervical Spine Surgery ?
The most common symptoms of cervical spine herniation are numbness, stinging, weakness and significant pain in arms and hand. If all these conditions do not improve with physical therapy and medication, you will be recommended for Cervical Spine Surgery.
Microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which a portion of a herniated nucleus pulpolsus is removed by way of a surgical instrument or laser while using an operating microscope or loupe for magnification
In a microdiscectomy or microdecompression spine surgery, a small portion of the bone over the nerve root and/or disc material from under the nerve root is removed to relieve neural impingement and provide more room for the nerve to heal.
A microdiscectomy is typically performed for a herniated lumbar disc and is actually more effective for treating leg pain.Impingement on the nerve root (compression) can cause substantial, patients normally feel relief from leg pain almost immediately after a microdiscectomy spine surgery.
How Microdiscectomy Surgery Is Performed
A microdiscectomy is performed through a small incision in the midline of the low back. First, the back muscles (erector spine) are lifted off the bony arch (lamina) of the spine. Since these back muscles run vertically, they can be moved out of the way rather than cut.The surgeon is then able to enter the spine by removing a membrane over the nerve roots (ligamentumflavum), and uses either operating glasses (loupes) or an operating microscope to visualize the nerve root.
Importantly, since almost all of the joints, ligaments and muscles are left intact, a microdiscectomy does not change the mechanical structure of the patient’s lower spine (lumbar spine).
• Tumours management
• Micro neurosurgery