Odessa Spine Surgeon
Serious back pain affects every aspect of a sufferer’s life. Often, rest and some anti-inflammatories will right the condition after a few days, but for some people the pain is long-term and disabling. If back pain does not resolve within a short time, medical intervention is necessary and an Odessa Spine surgeon can help.
Back pain sufferers need a definite diagnosis and proper treatment for their condition. The latter may consist of physical therapy, injections, and/or pain medications, but some back issues require spinal surgery for full resolution. An Odessa spine surgeon may offer the solution to chronic back pain and help you regain a normal life.
Understanding the Spine
The spine provides the body’s support and structure. It consists of 24 bones, known as vertebrae. Together with muscles and ligaments, these bones form the spinal column. This column has three sections:
- Cervical spine – or the neck, consisting of the first seven vertebrae. Each vertebra has openings for arteries to bring blood to the brain.
- Thoracic spine – the mid-back, consisting of the 12 middle vertebrae. These bones connect to the ribs and form the thorax’s back wall, the area of the ribcage between the diaphragm and neck.
- Lumbar spine – the lower back, with five or six vertebrae, depending on the individual. The lower back is the largest part of the spine. The sacrum, or spinal base, connects the spine to the pelvis.
There is also the spinal cord, a column of nerves covered by a protective membrane that carry messages from the brain to the body. It extends from the brain to the second lumbar vertebrae. Other spinal structures include:
- Intervertebral discs – located between the each vertebra and designed to absorb impact, these discs consist of an inner gel-like substance and a harder outer shell
- Facet joints – these joints link vertebrae, permitting movement. The ends of the joints include a spongy material known as articular cartilage. This substance allows the bones to slide against each other without friction. The facet joints have synovial fluid inside them, which helps keep joints lubricated
- Neural foramina – the spinal cord has 31 nerve root pairs, which leave the spine through passages in the vertebrae called neural foramina. Each member of a nerve pair goes out into an opposite direction through the left and right neural foramina
Common Spinal Conditions and Treatments
Back pain may result from damage to the spine, vertebrae, disc or nerves. Common spinal conditions include:
- Compression fractures – often caused by osteoporosis, treatment for these bones that have decreased in height consists of bracing, bone-strengthening medications or a minimally invasive procedure such as kyphoplasty
- Herniated discs – the gel-like material leaks through the hard shell, causing nerve irritation. While conservative treatment works for many patients, some will require surgical repair of the disc
- Sciatica – pain the lower back and one leg resulting from a pinched nerve. If conservative treatment does not work, epidural injections may ease the discomfort
- Spinal Stenosis – a narrowing of the spine’s open spaces, this problem occurs most often in the neck and lower back. Treatment may require surgery to open space for nerves and/or the spinal cord
How an Odessa Spine Surgeon Can Help
If conservative treatments do not work for your back pain, do not despair. Depending on your diagnosis, it is possible that minimally invasive surgery is an option, which means less recovery time than with conventional back surgery.
Contact a spine surgeon in Odessa today for more information about your diagnostic and possible surgical services in order to free yourself from a life of back pain.