Back Pain - Medical Malpractice LawyersLEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
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Back Pain - Medical Malpractice
Back pain can represent a number of things, from mild problems to severe injuries. It affects up to eighty percent of Canadians at some point in their lives. It can represent low back pain, mid-back pain or cervical pain and thoracic pain. Back pain is usually the result of damage to the nerves, muscles or ligaments of the back. Arthritis and degenerative disc disease can be other causes of back pain. Back pain can be a minor nuisance or it can be an extreme pain; it can be sharp and quick, or can be constant in nature.
The main causes of back pain are accidents, injuries or strains from lifting the wrong way or moving the wrong way. Two common back injuries are called spondylolisthesis and radiculopathy of the cervical spine.
The spine is made up of thirty three bones that extend from the skull to the pelvis. The bones are called vertebrae. Each vertebral body is separated by an intervertebral disk, which is a band of cartilage that acts like an absorber of shock to the spine. There are seven cervical vertebrae, twelve thoracic vertebrae and five lumbar vertebrae. The sacrum and coccyx make up the base of the spine and are technically part of the pelvis.
The causes of back pain are many. They include car accidents, falls, sports injuries, muscle strains and twisting injuries. Some injuries do damage to the vertebrae and are considered fractures of the back. Back fractures can be stable or can be unstable and do damage to the spinal cord, resulting in paralysis. Another cause of back pain is ligamentous strains of the back. This involves an injury to the ligaments that support the back. It can be caused by a twisting or lifting injury to the back. Muscle strains can also be caused by twisting or lifting injuries. The disc can be damaged in an accident or when lifting a heavy object. The disc can bulge into the spinal canal or in the area of the spinal nerve root outlet, causing radicular pain involving just one nerve root.
Back pain can be diagnosed using an x-ray that shows what's happening with the bones of the back. If two vertebrae slide against one another, it is called spondylolisthesis. This can be very painful and can interfere with the range of motion of the back. A CT scan of the back can show if there is any disc herniation or stenosis of the spinal canal. MRI scans can identify details about the discs of the back and about the nerve roots.
The two major types of back injury are spondylolisthesis and cervical radiculopathy. There is another condition called spondylolysis, which involves a defect or fracture of the winged portion of the vertebra. It results in slipping forward or backward over the bone beneath it. Another back injury is called cervical radiculopathy. It involves problems in the nerves that exit the cervical vertebrae. It can result in pain as well as a loss of sensation in various upper extremities. It all depends on where the damaged roots are located.
Causes of spondylolisthesis can be hereditary or congenital and can happen at birth. The vertebra can be broken by injury, disease or infection. It is more common in sports injuries than in anything else. Symptoms include low back pain, muscle stiffness, muscle tightness, buttocks pain, pain radiating down the back or front of the legs. The pain is usually moderately severe.
The treatments for spondylolisthesis include chiropractic care, physical therapy and pain control. The doctor may have to consider vertebral fusion if the spondylolisthesis doesn't clear with normal types of treatment. This is called arthrodesis.
With cervical radiculopathy, the damage can be because of a ruptured disc in the cervical spine. Degeneration of the bones, arthritis or other injuries can place an undue pressure on the nerve roots. In young people it is usually as a result of a ruptured disc, while in older people, it is the result of degeneration of the vertebrae.
Symptoms include arm pain, neck pain, chest or shoulder pain that can result in a lack of hand coordination or arm coordination. The treatment involves using corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy. Steroids may be prescribed by epidural injection or by oral means. You can have physical therapy, which might include traction of the cervical vertebrae.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here