What Are Common Back and Spinal Cord Injuries?

Experienced New York orthopedic spine surgeons discuss different injuries

Back and spine injuries can be extremely painful and can affect every aspect of your life. Suddenly, you may not be able to work or do many of the things you may take for granted. That’s why it’s important that you have an experienced spinal cord surgeon examine you and diagnose exactly what’s wrong.

In New York, the orthopedic back surgeons at Island Musculoskeletal Care (IMC Bone Doc) have extensive experience dealing with serious spine and back injuries. That’s because our doctors have more than 100 years of combined medical experience. That’s why we want to meet with you. Our board-certified, New York orthopedic spine surgeons realize what a dramatic difference effective medical care can often make with someone who has a serious back or spinal cord injury.

Make an appointment with IMC Bone Doc right now. Many of our surgeons have same day appointments available. All seven of our offices have advanced diagnostic equipment, including an MRI machine in each office. That way, we can diagnose what’s wrong with your back right away. If you need a follow-up appointment, we will do everything we can to make sure you receive the care you need in one convenient location.

What type of back or spinal cord injury do you have?

Back and spinal cord injuries cover a broad range. Some of the most common – and most serious – spinal cord injuries we regularly deal with at IMC Bone Doc include:

You are likely in a lot of pain. Talk to one of our back surgeons and let them diagnose exactly what’s wrong. Our doctors can explain all the different treatment options available to you. That way, you can make an informed decision about what to do.

If you need physical therapy at any point for your back, all seven of our offices has a licensed physical therapist on staff. That way, you can get the treatment you need at a location convenient for you.

Get the relief you need for your back or spine injury. Make an appointment.

Don’t underestimate the seriousness of your back or spinal cord injury. Talk to doctor as soon as possible. Schedule an appointment at IMC Bone Doc. You can contact us online or call 1-888-BONE-DOC (266-3362) to make an appointment with an experienced, New York orthopedic spine surgeon.

IMC Bone Doc is an in-network medical provider. As a result, we accept most forms of medical insurance and workers’ compensation insurance in New York. Talk with staff member at IMC Bone Doc if you have any questions about your coverage. We’re here to help you.

What is spondylolysis?

Spondylolysis is a medical term used to describe a stress fracture in a vertebra, which is a bone in the spine. If spondylolysis is not treated in a timely manner, this spinal cord injury can develop into spondylolisthesis, a serious injury in which the vertebrae are displaced and moved out of alignment in the spinal column. People with spondylolysis often experience serious lower back pain. This medical condition is common among people who participate in high-impact sports, including football, gymnastics, basketball and weightlifting.

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What is a vertebral compression fracture?

Vertebral compression fractures are stress fractures that occur when a block-like component in the vertebra collapses. The compression of the spine can lead to back pain, reduced height, and deformity. Vertebral compression fractures may be the result of declining bone mass (osteoporosis), an age-related health condition. They can also be caused by gradual stress to the spine due to heavy lifting.

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What is spine trauma?

A sudden traumatic injury can lead to damage to the ligaments, disks, and vertebrae in the spine. Spine trauma may be caused by the impact of a car accident, slip and fall, sports injury, or physical labor injury. In some cases, it can be caused by caused by an inflammatory disease that affects he spinal column. This can lead to limited mobility, tingling and numbness, muscle spasms, and extreme pain.

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What is cervical radiculopathy/myelopathy?

Cervical radiculopathy occurs when a nerve in the cervical vertebrae is compressed or damaged, resulting in pain that radiates into the arms, neck, chest, shoulders, and back.  Cervical myelopathy occurs when the spinal cord in the neck is compressed or inflamed, resulting in pain, stiffness, and weakness in the neck and limbs. Both conditions can be caused by physical trauma, age-related changes in the spine, and inflammatory diseases.

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What is lumbar radiculopathy?

The lumbar region of the spine consists of five vertebrae located in the lower back. Lumbar radiculopathy occurs when a nerve root in this region becomes compressed, damaged, or inflamed. This condition is usually caused by a herniated disc and can result in sciatica, which is low back pain that radiates down the leg and as far as the foot.

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What is neck pain?

The cervical region of the spine is located in the neck. Pain and discomfort can occur when one of the seven vertebrae is compressed, damaged, or inflamed. Other common symptoms include limited range-of-motion, numbness, tingling, and dizziness. Causes of neck pain may be physical trauma, looking up or down for too long, stress, and heavy jewelry.

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What is lower back pain?

Low back pain can include a dull, aching sensation, or more severe pain. It may be caused by damage to vertebrae in the lumbar region of the spine. In some cases, lower back pain can be caused by a strain to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the back. This condition is most commonly caused by repetitive bending and twisting, heavy lifting, long periods of sitting, and poor posture.

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What is back pain?

Back pain is an umbrella medical term that describes discomfort or severe pain affecting the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and vertebrae in the back. This is a common condition that affects people of all ages. It can be caused by physical trauma, repetitive physical stress, emotional stress, prolonged sitting, poor posture, heavy lifting, and inflammatory diseases.

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What is spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a medical term that describes low back pain caused by a slipped disc in the spine. Once one of the vertebrae slips out of place, it puts pressure on the bone underneath it. People with this condition may also experience back stiffness, thigh pain, and tightness in the hamstring and glutes. Spondylolisthesis often affects people who play contact sports, engage in high-intensity physical activity, or lift heavy weights.

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What are spine deformities?

In a healthy spine, an X-ray from the side would reveal two curves that form an S-shape. Spine deformities are improper curvatures of the spine that can be side-to-side (scoliosis), a forward curve (kyphosis), or inward curve of the lower back (lordosis). Not all people with spine deformities experience pain. Those who do often experience numbness, weakness in the lower extremities, or a pinched nerve. Spine deformities can be caused by birth defects, osteoporosis, or arthritis in the spine.

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What is a cervical fracture?

There are seven vertebrae in the neck that support your head and allow neck mobility. A cervical fracture occurs when one of the vertebrae is damaged due to sudden impact to the neck. The most common causes include car accidents, injuries from contact sports, and serious falls. People who sustain this injury may experience pain or stiffness in the neck, reduced neck mobility, difficulty swallowing, numbness or tingling in the limbs, double vision, or loss of consciousness.

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What is a fracture of the thoracic and lumbar spine?

The thoracic spine is composed of 12 vertebrae that run from the mid-back to the upper-back. The lumbar spine is located in the lower back and is made up of only five vertebrae. Most back injuries occur in both regions and sometimes include both (thoracolumbar junction). Fractures to the thoracic and lumbar spine are often the result of sudden, high-impact trauma. Symptoms may include moderate or severe back pain that worsens with movement.

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What is facet joint arthritis?

Facet joint arthritis is a medical term used to describe the breakdown of cartilage within the vertebra joints. This condition stems from degenerative changes in the spine and uneven body weight pressure on the facet joints. Once the cartilage breaks down, the joint becomes inflamed, resulting in a dull ache or nerve pain that radiates to the limbs, buttocks, neck, and shoulders.

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What is a herniated disc (cervical and lumbar)?

The vertebrae in the spine are protected by cushion-like discs that absorb pressure placed on the spine. A strain caused by heavy lifting can cause the outer protective layer of the disc to rupture. When a gel-like fluid protrudes from the disc and presses against a nerve, a herniated disc can cause dull aching, numbness, tingling, and burning that can radiate throughout the body. Herniated discs most often occur in the lumbar spine and cervical spine.

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What is sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and runs from the lower back, down the leg, and to the toes. When pressure is placed on the sciatic nerve due to a back injury (usually a slipped disc), people with sciatica may experience a shooting pain from the lower back and down the leg. Numbness and tingling along the nerve are also common symptoms of sciatica.

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What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a medical term used to describe side-to-side curvature of the spine that often occurs during childhood growth spurts or due to cerebral palsy (a birth injury that affects physical and cognitive functioning) or muscular dystrophy (progressive loss of muscle mass). While most cases of scoliosis may be mild, it can be a painful and debilitating condition for those with severe cases.

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What is degenerative disc disease?

The cushion-like discs between the vertebrae in the spine act as shock absorbers, allow mobility of the spine, and hold the vertebrae in place. Over time, the spinal discs begin to deteriorate, resulting in back pain, weakness, and numbness. The pain can worsen when engaging in physical activity. Degenerative disc disease most commonly affects adults ages 60 and older. Risk factors include back injuries, repetitive physical stress, and poor posture.

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What is spinal stenosis (lumbar and cervical)?

Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces within the spine begin to narrow or close. This puts pressure on the nerves in the affected areas within the lumbar (lower back) or cervical (neck) regions. People with spinal stenosis may experience back or neck pain, numbness or tingling in the limbs, muscle weakness, and potential bowel or bladder dysfunction. If left untreated, symptoms may worsen.

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What is a spinal tumor?

A spinal tumor (also called an intradural tumor) is an abnormal growth that develops on the spinal cord (dura) or inside the vertebrae (vertebral tumor). It can be either malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). A tumor may compress spinal nerves, resulting in loss of mobility or sensation in the affected area. People with a spinal tumor may experience pain at the site of the tumor, loss of bowel or bladder function, muscle weakness, and difficulty walking. In severe cases, a spinal tumor can be fatal.

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What is Scheuermann’s disease?

Scheuermann’s disease (also called Calvé disease) is a developmental deformity in the spine that often affects the thoracic region. While other regions of the spine may grow normally, the thoracic develops into a pronounced c-shape. The cause of Scheuermann’s disease is unknown. People with this condition often experience pain and restricted range of motion in the affected area.

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What is cauda equina syndrome?

A bundle of nerves called the cauda equina is located at the bottom of the spinal cord in the lower back. Cauda equina syndrome occurs when these nerves become damaged, usually due to a ruptured disc in the lumbar region. People with this condition may experience severe low back pain, numbness or loss of sensation in the lower extremities, and problems with bladder and bowel function. Cauda equina syndrome requires immediate surgery to prevent permanent damage.

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What is kyphosis?

Kyphosis is a medical term to describe an exaggerated, forward curvature of the upper back - also referred to as “hunchback.” This condition can affect children and teens due to a birth defect or malformation of the spine. It can also affect older adults due to age-related disk degeneration, which occurs when the cushion-like disks between the vertebrae start to dry out and break down.

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What is sacroiliac joint dysfunction?

The sacroiliac joint is connected by strong ligaments to the sacrum and ilium bones in the pelvis. The cartilage of the sacroiliac joint may wear down over time due to physical stress. This may lead to arthritis of the joint, also known as sacroiliac joint dysfunction. People with this condition may experience pain in the lower back, hips, groin, and thighs. Pain typically worsens when standing or walking.

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What is chordoma?

Chordoma is a rare, slow-growing type of cancer tumor that can develop anywhere along the spine. It most commonly occurs at the base of the skull or around the sacrum. Chordoma is believed to be caused by small remnants of embryo cells that develop in the spine. Men ages 50 to 70 are the most at risk of developing chordoma. This condition, however, can affect anyone at any age.

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What is adjacent segment disc disease?

Adjacent segment disc disease is a medical term to describe loss of mobility in the spine after a spinal fusion surgery. Some spinal deformities are treated with spinal fusion surgery, which involves fusion of two or more vertebrae. This condition can take up to 20 years to develop after back surgery is complete and can cause back pain, leg and foot pain, and numbness, weakness, or tingling in the lower extremities.

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What is a cervical disc protrusion?

A cervical disc protrusion occurs when the disc in the neck bulges out and presses on a nerve in the spinal cord. Unlike a herniated disc, which involves a rupture of the outer protective layer, the disc is still intact. When disc presses against a nerve, people with this condition may experience pain in the neck, arms, shoulders, and upper back. Other symptoms include headaches, limited mobility in the neck and arms, weakness, numbness, tingling, and burning sensations.

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What is ankylosing spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis is a rare form a spinal-related arthritis that causes vertebrae to fuse together, resulting in loss of mobility and severe pain. The cause of this condition is unknown, but genetics is believed to be a factor. The onset of this condition often starts in teens and young adults and is lifelong. While there is no cure, the right treatment may help people with ankylosing spondylitis function comfortably.

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What is spondyloarthropathies?

Spondyloarthropathies are certain types of arthritis that affect the bones in the spine, shoulders, and hips. This condition may attack the discs between the vertebrae, as well as other nearby tendons and ligaments. While typically rare, people with certain infections (such as urinary tract infections) may be at risk of developing spondyloarthropathies.

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What is piriformis syndrome?

The piriformis is a small muscle located deep behind the gluteus maximus and directly above the sciatic nerve. Piriformis syndrome occurs when the muscle spasms and presses against the sciatic nerve, and is often caused by trauma and repetitive physical stress. People with this condition may experience pain and numbness in the buttocks or legs. Symptoms may worsen when sitting for long periods of time, running, or climbing stairs.

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What is whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury to the soft tissue in the neck caused by a sudden forward and backward whip-like motion of the head and neck. It’s usually caused by the impact of a rear-end car accident, a contact sports injury, or a fall. People with whiplash may experience stiffness in the neck and shoulders, numbness and tingling in the arms, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and pain in the face and jaw.

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What is DISH (diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis)?

Also known as Forestier’s disease, DISH occurs when the ligaments, tendons, and discs in the spine begin to calcify due to a buildup of calcium salts. The bony hardening of the connective tissue results in loss of range of motion, pain, stiffness, and difficulty swallowing. The cause of DISH is unknown, but older adults, people with diabetes, and people who use certain medications may be at risk.

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What is a cervical degenerative disorder?

Cervical degenerative disorder is a common cause of neck and arm pain due to wear and tear of a vertebral disc. The gel-like discs absorb shock and prevent the vertebrae in the neck from rubbing together. Most older adults will eventually experience cervical degeneration. Certain factors, however, can cause this condition to develop earlier – such as genetics, poor posture, repetitive physical stress, obesity, and smoking tobacco.

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What is Lordosis?

Lordosis (also called swayback) is a medical term used to describe a pronounced inward curvature of the lumbar or cervical regions of the spine. Lordosis can place excess pressure on the spine and result in pain and limited mobility. When people with this condition experience severe pain, numbness, loss of bladder control, loss of muscle control, and weakness, prompt medical treatment may be needed.

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What is lumbar degenerative disc disease?

Lumbar degenerative disc disease occurs when the gel-like discs between the vertebrae in the lumbar region of the spine begin to wear down. Most people will experience some disc degeneration in the lumbar region within their lifetime. Degenerative disc disease, however, refers to disc degeneration that results in serious low back pain.

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What is a lumbar disc herniation?

The cushion-like discs in between the lumbar vertebrae protects the spine from compression and provides durability. The discs can become damaged due to excess pressure, usually caused by heavy lifting and straining. A protrusion of the disc fluid may press against a nerve, resulting in lower back pain and sciatic pain that radiates through the buttocks, down the leg, and into the foot.

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What is a cervical herniated disc?

The cervical region of the spine is located in the neck. A cervical herniated disc occurs when a disc in one of the vertebrae ruptures, placing pressure on a nerve. The outer protective coating of the disc gradually breaks down with age. This can lead to neck pain that radiates through the shoulders and into the limbs.

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