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The cervical spine is the most flexible anatomic region in the axial skeleto.
The lumbar spine is made up of five vertebral bodies in the lower back, where the spine curves inward toward the abdomen. It starts about five or six inches below the shoulder blades, and connects with the thoracic spine at the top and extends downward to the sacral spine.
Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition caused by narrowing of the spinal canal. This narrowing occurs when the growth of bone or tissue or both reduces the size of the openings in the spinal bones. This narrowing can squeeze and irritate the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord.
Laminectomy- This procedure involves removing the bone, bone spurs, and ligaments that are compressing the nerves. This procedure may also be called a “decompression.”
Spinal fusion- If arthritis has progressed to spinal instability, a combination of decompression and stabilization or spinal fusion may be recommended. Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure used to correct problems with the small bones of the spine (vertebrae). It is essentially a “welding” process. The basic idea is to fuse together the painful vertebrae so that they heal into a single, solid bone.
Lumbar traction- Although it may be helpful in some patients, traction has very limited results. There is no scientific evidence of its effectiveness
Steroid injections- Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Cortisone injections around the nerves or in the “epidural space” can decrease swelling, as well as pain. It is not recommended to receive these, however, more than 3 times per year. These injections are more likely to decrease pain and numbness but not weakness of the legs.
Spina bifida is a birth defect. Most children who have spina bifida do not have problems from it. It occurs when the bones of the spine (vertebrae) do not form properly around part of the baby’s spinal cord. It can affect how the skin on the back looks.
It is the mildest form of spina bifida. “Occulta” means hidden, meaning that the defect is covered by skin and not open. Most children with this type of condition never have health problems and the spinal cord is often unaffected.
Spina Bifida Includes two types:
Meningocele involves the meninges-The membranes responsible for covering and protecting the brain and spinal cord.
Myelomeningocele-It is the most severe form of spina bifida. It occurs when the meninges push through the hole in the back, and the spinal cord also pushes though.
Physical and neurological problems-This may include lack of normal bowel and bladder control and partial or complete paralysis of the legs. Children and adults with this form of spina bifida might need crutches, braces or wheelchairs to help them get around.
Accumulation of fluid in the brain-Babies born with myelomeningocele also commonly experience accumulation of fluid in the brain, a condition known as hydrocephalus.
Infection in the tissues surrounding the brain-Some babies with myelomeningocele may develop meningitis, an infection in the tissues surrounding the brain.
Other complications-Additional problems may arise as children with spina bifida get older. Children with myelomeningocele may develop learning disabilities, including difficulty paying attention, problems with language and reading comprehension, and trouble learning math.
Initial Surgery-Meningocele involves surgery to put the meninges back in place and close the opening in the vertebrae. Myelomeningocele also requires surgery, usually within 24 to 48 hours after birth. Performing the surgery early can help minimize risk of infection that’s associated with the exposed nerves and may also help protect the spinal cord from additional trauma.
Prenatal Surgery-In this procedure which takes place before the 26th week of pregnancy surgeons expose a pregnant mother’s uterus surgically, open the uterus and repair the baby’s spinal cord.
The spinal cord is a collection of nerves that travels from the bottom of the brain down your back. There are 31 pairs of nerves that leave the spinal cord and go to your arms, legs, chest and abdomen. These nerves allow your brain to give commands to your muscles and cause movements of your arms and legs.
The spinal cord is very sensitive to injury. Unlike other parts of your body, the spinal cord does not have the ability to repair itself if it is damaged.
Types of Injuries
Complete-If almost all feeling (sensory) and all ability to control movement (motor function) are lost below the spinal cord injury.
Incomplete-If you have some motor or sensory function below the affected area.
Spinal Decompression Surgery-Spinal decompression surgery is a general term that refers to various procedures intended to relieve symptoms caused by pressure, or compression, on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots.
Diskectomy-Diskectomy is a surgery to remove all or part of a cushion that helps protect your spinal column. These cushions, called disks, separate your spinal bones (vertebrae).
Minimally invasive spine surgery-Minimally invasive spine surgery uses very small surgical incisions (often less than one inch) and specially designed surgical tools to treat spinal disorders. Because minimally invasive surgery is performed through small tubes, there is little disruption of normal structures. This reduces postoperative pain, speeds recovery, and leads to shortened hospital stays. Many minimally invasive spine procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis.
Foraminotomy-Foraminotomy is a surgery that widens the opening in your back where nerve roots leave your spinal canal. You may have a narrowing of the nerve opening.
Spinal Fusion-Spinal fusion is a surgery to join together two bones (vertebrae) in the spine. Fusion permanently joins two bones together so there is no longer movement between them. Spinal fusion is usually done along with other surgical procedures of the spine.
Vertebroplasty-Vertebroplasty is performed by a radiologist, without surgery, and involves inserting a glue-like material into the center of the collapsed spinal vertebra to stabilize and strengthen the crushed bone.
Rehabilitation-The rehabilitation process following a spinal cord injury typically begins in the acute care setting. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists and other health care professionals typically work as a team under the coordination.