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Spinal Disorders Tips

Spinal Compression Fracture - How To Avoid It?

Spinal Compression Fracture - How To Avoid It?

What is spinal compression fracture?
Spinal compression fractures are getting frequent due to the many lifestyle changes which we undergo. The body should not be made to be put use in a certain way like posture, lifting heavy weights, etc. However, prolonged and repeated usage affects the spine directly and results in compression fractures. Though the condition looks, gratifying, modern science has advanced to levels where the fractures can be addressed very effectively, and the pain symptoms can be eradicated almost completely. Let us have a summary of the treatment methods.

The treatment
The treatment plan of any spinal compression fracture should effectively highlight the pain, the factors leading to the pain and lastly the fracture itself. Our body has been designed in such a way that the spine can withstand an amount of pressure and force. As a result of it, it is one of the strongest parts of the human body. Hence most fractures heal with pain medications and strength exercises. These activities can be embraced as a permanent one- thus eradicating the pain altogether.

Pain killers are administered gradually for a few weeks along with rest and once the pain subsidises strength exercises are imparted as a part of the treatment plan. In a few cases, anti-inflammatory drugs and antidepressants can also help in relieving the nerve-related pain. A back brace like an easily removable cast can also be put when doing the usual activities. This, directly stiffness the spine and provides it with support. The pressure to the spine can be greatly relieved due to the back brace.

Surgery for Spinal compression fractures
As stated, most of the spinal pain can go away with certain lifestyle changes and medications. However, in some extreme cases even after putting all the effort the pain does not go, then a surgical treatment has to be performed to correct the fractures. There are two minimally invasive procedures namely Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty and one complicated procedure known medically as the Spinal fusion surgery. In vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, bone cement is spread across in layers to the affected region.

These blocks of cement have a tendency to get strong in a matter of minutes, thus relieving the pressure immediately. Spinal fusion surgery is done in extremely rare cases where two or more vertebras are connected together using metal screws. Sometimes even a bone graft is affixed to provide support to the fractured region. Doctors, however, do not go for it usually as the procedure causes extreme inconvenience even after the treatment.

Prevention
Spinal compressions are a frequent occurrence nowadays, and a good physician would suggest prevention is better than cure. Making the much-needed changes to life and the activities we perform can drastically reduce the chances of getting a spinal compression fracture.

Spine - How To Ensure Health Of It?

Spine - How To Ensure Health Of It?

The spinal cord is indispensable to your body. It supports your head, keeps your posture erect, and helps you walk. Ailments of the spine are extremely painful to remedy and throw a lot of your other organs in trouble as well. Therefore, it follows that you should take the best care of your spine possible.

While there are a number of ways you can do that, some stand out from the rest. They are:

• Do your exercises properly: there are umpteen ways you can work out and get results that are harmful to your spine. You may easily lift something too heavy for your constitution, or the angle at which the object is placed may be too high for all your muscles to coordinate and work properly. Be aware, and avoid these mistakes. If you feel like the object is too heavy, refrain from lifting it. Even when lifting, make it such that the muscles of your lower body have to do the maximum work.

• Move on: Physical movement is the first commandment of having your spine fit and in a peak condition. This movement can be trivial and every day, like daily walks in the park or going to walk your pet. However, a sustained movement like that is very important, combined with stretching or aerobic exercises.

• Work smart: There are several ways you can avoid injuring your spine at the workplace. You should choose a chair that is adjusted according to your height and supports your lower back well. Your feet should be able to reach the floor properly and well. You should also avoid unhealthy conveniences like holding your phone between your ear and shoulders to keep your hands free.

• Go for daily checks: You should keep daily tabs on what is happening to your spine. Go for daily checks, and immediately check with your doctor if you experience symptoms like back pain without any evident disease, or if discomfort persists even after medication.

The spine is integral to the proper functioning of your whole body, and shouldn’t be ignored even for a day. There are exercises you can do to keep it in good shape, and those that you can avoid. There are also triggers after which you should check with your doctor as well. Here’s wishing you good spinal health.

The spine is an integral part!

Post Spinal Surgery Recovery Measures!

Post Spinal Surgery Recovery Measures!

It is not that very easy to get complete recovery after spinal surgery and for that, you have to rely on different caring tips. Your surgeon can help you in this regard and can provide you a checklist containing different essential caring tips. You should follow those tips sincerely so that unwanted side-effects can be easily avoided. 

Few caring tips after spine surgery

  • Consumption of adequate amount of proteins: If the protein content is increased in your diet, then quickest recovery can be definitely expected. Muscle collagen can be strengthened and healed with the regular intake of the necessary amounts of protein. In fact, infectious conditions can be effectively dealt with by protein intake. 
  • Getting adequate rest: proper rest is needed and you should have enough sleep for getting complete recovery. If your body needs some more sleep than the standard one, then you should go for the same. Your mood, memory and body will get refreshed and rejuvenated by taking proper sleep at night. In fact, you can also get rid of pains and other side-effects after surgery by taking rest. 
  • Taking nutritional supplements: There are a few essential nutrients that are needed after the surgical procedure, and they are vitamin D, vitamin C, Omega-3 fatty-acids, magnesium and others. These nutritional elements are now available in the form of supplements and are readily available in the stores. Though these supplements are completely organic, but still you should start taking the same when doctors permit you. These supplements help in collagen healing and thus speedy recovery can be gained by taking them in a consistent manner. Muscle heath can be effectively protected by consuming these supplements. 
  • Acute hydration: Hydration is highly needed especially after spinal surgery so that toxin accumulation can be prevented. If you want to get proper hydration, then nothing can be a better option than drinking lots of water. In fact, spinal surgeons also recommend the same for avoiding surgical complications. Tea, coffee and sodas need to be completely replaced with water. Your system can be thoroughly cleaned by draining out toxins. 
  • Eliminating refined sugars from the diet: Refined flour and sugary products are to be completely curtailed from the regular diet; otherwise, you might face severe complications. Your blood-sugar level needs to be regulated. If your immunity system gets suppressed, then you will be in great trouble and hence sugar should not be included in your diet at all.
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Lumbar Spondylosis - How Can Ayurveda Benefit You?

Lumbar Spondylosis - How Can Ayurveda Benefit You?

The backbone is made up of multiple small bones which are connected together by a softer bone. The spine is what allows important body movements including bending and walking. The issue is, with age, the backbone also loses its elasticity and becomes rigid. Though this is a natural process with ageing, lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle makes it worse.

Lumbar spondylosis is the medical term for this chronic, degenerative condition of the lumbar and the sacral spines (the lower portion of the backbone). This leads to chronic stiffening of the spine, affecting movement. This joint is very crucial in all bending movements and spinal movements.

Causes of Lumbar Spondylosis:

  1. Ageing: As the condition progresses, the nerves that run through the spines can get exposed and there could be pain and irritation
  2. Genetic abnormalities that produce a weak bone
  3. Spinal trauma like accident or falls
  4. Sedentary lifestyle: Sitting in front of the computer for prolonged hours also causes lumbar spondylosis
  5. Overuse: People who are weightlifters tend to put excessive pressure on the spine, causing lumbar spondylosis

Symptoms:

  • Stiffness and pain in the low back
  • Pain with continued sitting
  • Numbness and tingling if nerves are getting affected
  • Loss of balance, leading to frequent falls
  • Losing control over bowel and bladder movement
  • Pain radiating to the lower legs

Ayurvedic remedies: This includes a combination of external applications, yoga, and food preparations including kashayas and tailas.

  1. This condition is caused by increased Vata and Kapha. Maharasnadi kashayam, Astavarga kashayam, and Dashamoola kashayam reduce these elements.
  2. Pain and inflammation is relieved by the use of various Guggulu including Mahayogaraja Guggulu, Simhanada Guggulu, Trayodashang Guggulu, and Dhanvantara Vati –
  3. The affected joints can be hydrated with the use of gandha taila and dhanwantharam.
  4. Kukkutandatvak bhasma is known to strengthen the bone.
  5. Ashwagandha is known to lubricate the vertebral disks and joints
  6. External treatments like Abhyanga are useful in improving joint movement. They improve circulation and help in removal of toxins so that pure blood can flow and reduce inflammation.
  7. Vasti: This helps in improving nutrition to the joints and bones, thereby helping them repair themselves and heal.

Yogas for lumbar spondylosis: The five most effective asanas are:

  • Ardhakati chakrasana
  • Pada hastasana
  • Matsyasana
  • Ardha chakrasana
  • Vakrasana (sitting in a chair)

Additional measures:

  • Sit in a comfortable position with adequate back support
  • Take short breaks to avoid continued sitting
  • Sleep comfortably, by resting the back adequately
  • Strengthen the back muscles by regular exercises.
  • Eat healthy, avoid junk, and drink plenty of water.
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Spine Health - Know What Can Hamper It!

Spine Health - Know What Can Hamper It!

With changing lifestyles, the small household chores (daily activities) have become the workouts for most of us. When not done properly, however, these cause more harm than good. The spine often bears the brunt of this damage. Read on to know if you are damaging your spine on a daily basis. Its time to change the way you do these activities for your spine.

  1. Carrying shopping bags - While two bags might look more expensive, carrying one bag tilts the weight to one side and causes the spine to bend. Instead, opt for two small bags, and this weight distribution is friendly on the spine.
     
  2. Cleaning the floor - Either sit down completely or stand and use a mop. Never bend down and try to clean the floor with a cloth. The spine posture created during this is very unhealthy and puts pressure on the spine.
     
  3. Tying up shoe-laces - While it is difficult to sit down and tie the shoe-laces, it is definitely worth the effort. Bending down and tying is harmful to the spine posture, and when repeatedly done, can be damaging in the long run.
     
  4. Washing vessels - Bending and washing vessels is a strict no. It puts too much pressure on the back and the disk wears out faster. Try standing and keep a stool at knee level, on which you can rest the knee. Take turns to do this on the right and left knee.
     
  5. At the washbasin - Bending down to brush the teeth or wash face is bad on the spine. Over a long period, this can put a lot of strain on the spine. Try to rest your hand on the wall or the sink and see the pressure on the spine reduce.
     
  6. Office/school bags - It is very easy to sling a bag onto the shoulder and go on. The bag could contain books of a school kid or laptop of an office goer, whatever may be the situation, this puts uneven pressure on the back and can cause shoulder and spine issues. Always try to put the bag on both your shoulders. This distributes the weight and makes it easy on your shoulders and spine. Especially for people who are going to do some walking with the bag, it is definitely not advisable to carry it on one side.
     
  7. Sitting - For those who end up sitting for long hours, there is too much stress on the back and so support is advisable. Take short breaks and avoid sitting for more than an hour at a stretch.
     
  8. Bad mattress - While a soft mattress is very inviting, it does not support the spine and does not leave you fresh in the morning. Choose a mattress that supports the spine and see the difference.
     
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Treating Spinal Stenosis The Right Way

Treating Spinal Stenosis The Right Way

What is Spinal Stenosis

The narrowing of the gaps in the spine or the backbone is called as Spinal stenosis. This leads to pressure on the nerves and the spinal cord. 5% of cases of spinal stenosis are seen in the low back of the lumbar spine. In some cases the narrowing of the spine leads to the compressing of the nerve root, which leads to pain in the leg.

Causes of spinal stenosis

It can be caused by aging, arthritis, trauma to the spine, spondylolisthesis and tumor of the spine

Symptoms of spinal stenosis

There is constant pain in the back and legs as stenosis pinches the nerve responsible for sensation and muscle power. Other symptoms are numbness and tingling in the legs, frequent falling and pain while walking.

Treatment of spinal stenosis

-  A routine program with exercises and physical therapy are the best treatment for spinal stenosis. The exercises are not a complete cure but they are beneficial in keeping the patient active. A physical therapy can be supervised and once the period of the same is over people easily transition to the exercise program. The key for exercise is starting slowly in order to build strength.

-  Generally, the patients are counseled not to perform strenuous activities as that might worsen the symptoms of spinal stenosis. In case of lumbar stenosis, patients find it comfortable when they are flexed forward. The doctor might recommend walking while being bent over and leaning when using a walker if not walking upright; sitting in recliners is also recommended instead of straight back chairs.

-  Injections of cortisone are usually given in the epidural space. This is believed to relieve the symptoms of spinal stenosis temporarily. Though there have been studies which question the use of these injections as they lead to the risk of osteoporosis related fractures. This is still being pondered over by the doctors as a suitable treatment option as it has its own benefits and risks.

-  Medications such as the antiinflammatory medicines like ibuprofen or aspirin are helpful in controlling the symptoms of spinal stenosis. Narcotic drugs might also prove to be helpful if used with care and for a short while. This is helpful for severe pain related to the nerves. Muscle relaxants like gabapentins might also be recommended. In some case anti depressants might also be given to provide relief from pain. 

Though side effects are a concern when using these medications and the patient should let the doctor knows about their allergies.

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Spinal Cord Tumours - Know More!

Spinal Cord Tumours - Know More!

Our spine is made of a column of bones. It has 33 vertebrae. Each vertebral segment creates a bony circle, called the spinal canal, that protects the spinal cord and nerves.

Tumour is an abnormal growth of cell mass. Spinal tumours can  grow outside the spinal cord covering i.e. duramater & are called extradural. They can grow from bones surrounding the spinal cord i.e. vertebra, muscles, nerve roots, duramater.  Examples include metastasis, aneurysmal bone cysts, ewing’s sarcoma, lymphoma, neurofibroma.

Intradural extramedullary tumours grow inside the duramater but outside the spinal cord. They cause direct compression of the spinal cord. Here tumours can grow from nerve roots, duramater. Examples include neurofibroma, schwannoma, meningiomas, dermoids, epidermoids, lipomas, teratomas.

Intramedullary tumours grow inside the spinal cord substance. Examples include ependymomas, astrocytomas, hemangioblastomas, cavernomas.

The majority of tumours are benign.

Clinical presentation depends on the location of tumours in the spinal canal, size & severity of compression caused by the tumour.

  • Local Pain – especially in Extramedullary Tumours

  • Radicular Pain

  • Backache

  • Neck Pain

  • Paresis & Numbness

  • Sensory & Motor deficits

  • Gait disturbance

  • Bladder / Bowel involvement

  • Scoliosis

Many a times, the symptoms of spinal tumours may be confused with those of prolapsed intervertebral disc or simple low backache or neck pain.

Diagnostic workup includes detailed history and neurological examination of the patient. Investigations include MRI spine with contrast; MRI brain and CT scan of spine may be required on a case to case basis. Uroflowmetry and urodynamic studies may be required in some cases where bladder seems to be involved.

Management of spinal tumours includes surgical excision without compromising neurologic function. Radiotherapy and/ or chemotherapy may be required in some cases. Neurophysiological monitoring should also be used in cases where the borders of the tumour are not well defined.

Microscope, neuromonitoring, high speed drill, CUSA, irrigation cautery systems and microneuro instruments further enhance safety in spinal tumour surgeries.

Surgery should be done as early as possible in symptomatic & large tumours

RAPID IDENTIFICATION AND INTERVENTION OF MALIGNANT SPINAL TUMORS, OFTEN CAUSING SPINAL CORD COMPRESSION, IS KEY TO MAINTAINING QUALITY OF LIFE IN PATIENTS

 

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Spine Deformity - Everything You Should Know!

Spine Deformity - Everything You Should Know!

Spine deformity refers to an abnormality of the shape, alignment, or formation of the vertebral column. The spine in the human body is composed of small bones or vertebrae, stacked on top of another. A healthy spine, typically, has gentle curvatures. A displacement or exaggeration of the spine leads to deformities.

Types of spine deformities:

The three major forms of spine curvature deformity are-

• Lordosis - Causes the lower back to turn inward
• Kyphosis - Leads to forward rounding of the back
Scoliosis - Causes the spine to curve sideways

What are the causes of spine deformity?

The following conditions may cause the spine to be misaligned-

Achondroplasia - A disorder, which impedes the normal growth of the bones, thereby resulting in short stature or dwarfism
• Spondylolisthesis - When the vertebrae in the lower back slip forward
Osteoporosis - When the vertebrae become fragile and prone to fractures
Scheuermann’s disease - A developmental disorder of the spine that leads to abnormal growth of the upper back
Spina bifida - A congenital disorder where the spinal column does not close completely while inside the womb

Symptoms associated with deformed spine:

Signs and symptoms of a deformed spine include-

• Uneven/misalignment of the shoulder and hips
• Uneven shoulder blades (one side is slightly higher than the other)
• Slight bending of the head over the body
• Difficulty in movement
• Discomfort and back pain

How is the condition treated?

The treatment of the condition depends on the severity of your spine deformity. Anti-inflammatory medications and drugs are prescribed to manage pain and discomfort associated with spine deformity/curvature. However, these cannot correct the deformity completely.

Severe cases of spine deformity need another line of treatment.

• Bracing - Back braces are recommended for children and adults alike, depending on the degree of curvature. This can help prevent the condition of your back from worsening.
Body casting - The doctor places a cast that starts from the shoulders and goes all the way down to the lower trunk. This provides adequate support to the spine and strengthens the back.
Spinal instrumentation - The surgeon will attach instruments like rods, hooks, and wires to the spine to keep the bones aligned following a spinal fusion.
Artificial disc replacement - The surgeon replaces degenerated discs in the spine with artificial devices.
Kyphoplasty - The surgeon inserts a balloon into the spine to stabilize and realign the deformed spine and relieve you from the pain.

Following the treatment, patients with spine deformity are usually advised to go for physiotherapy sessions. Physical therapy and exercise can help you build muscle strength and increase flexibility.

Deformity of the spine is a difficult condition to live with. Not only does it restricts your normal movement but also places you at risk of other musculoskeletal disorders. Therefore, it is imperative that you get the condition treated by a specialist.

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What To Ask Your Spine Surgeon?

What To Ask Your Spine Surgeon?

Spine surgeries are complicated and have serious repercussions if the procedure doesn’t go as planned. Probing your doctor is therefore very critical to ensure safe operation and early post-op recovery. Questions can range from the type of treatment chosen for a speedy recovery to side effects. Here is a list of questions that you need to ask your spine surgeon:

1. Why is the surgery recommended?
Typically, there could be more than one treatment option for a particular problem. Your doctor should be able to tell you very precisely as to why the surgery is recommended and how it is going to address the problem.

2. Is there any non-surgical option?
Many spine related issues can be treated with medicines and physiotherapy. Ask your doctor if such options exist.

3. Explain the surgical procedure in detail
Your doctor should explain the whole surgical procedure, explaining the minute details and help will help you to understand the implications.

4. What is the duration of the surgery?
Spine surgeries do not take more than 2 hours. It, however, depends on the procedure that is being performed.

5. How will the surgery address the pain?
It is important to know the source of the pain. Exploratory surgeries are not performed on the spine. Ask your doctor how he intends to address the pain through the surgery.

6. What are the risks involved?
Risks and side effects vary from patient to patient. For instance, a person with obesity, spondylitis and smoking has greater chances of complications associated with the operation.

7. Will the doctor perform the whole procedure or he will use practising surgeons and intern for the job?
Many senior surgeons use interns and junior surgeons to perform a minor procedure. Get a clear understanding of the role of the doctor and his assistants. It is a good idea to know the background if the surgical team who is going to perform the procedure.

8. What is the success rate of the doctor for the procedure he is going to perform?
A successful spine surgeon should be able to give you valid data on his/her success rate and the overall success rate of surgeons all across the country.

9. How many days do you need to spend in hospital?
Your hospital stay is directly related to your insurance. It is essential to get a clear picture of the same.

10. Whether a back brace is necessary after surgery?
Limiting the spine movement speed the process of healing. Most Doctors suggest braces after spine surgery.

11. What is the time required for recovery?
The recovery greatly varies from patient to patient. What you should ask your Doctor is the expected time required for you to join your job/school.

12. Will there be any physical limitation after the operations?
Many spine surgeries require you to refrain from strenuous jobs for a while. For instance, certain surgeries require you to stay away from driving for a while. Address all these apprehensions from your doctor.

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Spinal Arthritis - Who Are In Danger?

Spinal Arthritis - Who Are In Danger?

Arthritis is one of the chronic joint diseases.  It is also called as degenerative joint disease. In this type of joint disease, the protective cartilage of the bones wears out and degenerates over time. This condition causes pain and swelling. It may also lead to the development of bone spurs or osteophytes.

Arthritis can be of many types depending upon the region of the body (joints, muscles, and/or bones) it is affecting or generating. However, one of the most painful and chronic types of Arthritis is Spinal Arthritis or Arthritis of the spine. It is an inflammatory disease that affects the spine including the hip joint and near the pelvis joint, sacroiliac joints. It causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the back. The inflammation in the Spinal Arthritis also leads to weakness and pain in the legs and arms.

Who is Prone to Spinal Arthritis?

Generally, Spinal Arthritis happens to the people who get older. However, younger people may get due to the following causes:

  • Any Trauma injury to a hip joint, lower back, or discs in the neck can lead to Spinal Arthritis

  • Genetic Defect that affects cartilage also leads to Spinal Arthritis.

It usually occurs below the age of 45 in men and above the age of 45 in women.

Spinal Arthritis may happen to people who are obese, or overweight. It may also occur in people who play sports or involves in the activities that put stress on the joints repetitively.

Symptoms of Spinal Arthritis

Some of the common symptoms of Spinal Arthritis are:

  • Stiffness in the back or neck

  • Pain in the back or neck

  • Numbness in the arms or legs

  • Weakness

  • Back discomfort while sleeping or sitting

People may also experience hindrances in performing their daily activities. In some cases, people may become severely disabled.  

Apart from the physical effects, people may also experience emotional and social problems. People who are not able to perform their daily activities may feel helpless or depressed

Diagnosis

X-Ray is one of the best ways to confirm a diagnosis of Spinal Arthritis. The doctor may ask about the medical history of the patient and perform physical tests to check the tenderness, pain, loss of motion of the lower back or neck, or any other symptoms including reflex changes, weakness, loss of sensation, etc.

The doctor may perform the following tests to aid in the diagnosis of Spinal Arthritis:

  • X-rays to look for bone spurs, bone damage, and loss of disc or cartilage.

  • Blood tests to look for other diseases

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look for damage to discs or cartilage.

Treatment of Spinal Arthritis

In general, the treatment of Spinal Arthritis is done to relieve and limiting the symptoms of swelling and pain to help a person to gain his/her ability in performing daily tasks and activities without any interference. The aim of the treatment is to provide a healthy lifestyle for a person.  

If the condition is not severe, the treatment includes losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. The treatment may also include exercises to help a person performs daily tasks easily, improves mood and attitude, improves blood flow, increases flexibility, strengthens the heart, etc.

Exercise that may help in the treatment of Spinal Arthritis are:

  • Swimming

  • Water aerobics

  • Walking

  • Exercise with rubber bands or weights

  • Aerobic exercises

  • Motion exercises

Take Away

Apart from all these exercises, one needs to take proper rest and medication prescribed by the doctor. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and consuming a balanced diet will help in the recovery process. In most of the cases, Spinal Arthritis can be treated without surgery. However, in the server case, people may require surgery where the disc and cartilage are completely damaged.











 

 


 

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