Neurological Disorders: Spinal Diseases

Spinal diseases are very common and are important causes for the sufferings of many patients & certain spinal disorders may even cause death (severe spinal cord traumas, spinal tumors etc), however in the clinical practice majority of the spinal disorders are the result of arthritis, muscle sprain, disc bulges etc which can cause pain, stiffness, spasm etc but are not lethal.

Introduction

Spine, also called as backbone or vertebral column is a structure composed of a series of individual and fused bones called as vertebrae, ligaments & disc material. It is situated in the rear aspect of our body, extending from the neck up to the tip of the tail bone.

It is most often formed by 33 individual vertebra; From above downwards they are called as cervical (neck area), thoracic (chest/belly area) lumbar, sacral & coccygeal (lower back areas). There are 7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral & 4 coccygeal in human beings (between 3 and 5). The bodies of sacral & coccygeal vertebrae are fused. The 1st & 2nd cervical vertebrae form a joint called a atlanto-axial joint. There is a soft material called as disc between two successive vertebrae from 2nd cervical to 1st sacral. This disc material is absent between other vertebrae.

Why good health of the spine is important?

• First of all it houses the spinal cord inside the spinal canal (the elongated cavity or space within the spine). The spinal cord along with brain is called as CNS (central nervous system). These are essential organs, and are needed for our survival and good health.

• The so called spinal nerves emerge out of the spine and supply the limbs, belly cavity, trunk, bowel/bladder and sexual organs. Spinal diseases can cause dysfunction of these spinal nerves (or their roots) and trouble the patient in varieties of ways (e.g. pain, numbness, incontinence etc).

• Spine or backbone along with the ribs and other related bones provides the skeletal framework for neck, chest, and back areas.

The spine is susceptible to catch myriad disease conditions and they are usually secondary to traumas/injuries, infections, disc problems, inflammatory conditions, tumors (cancers), congenital disorders etc.

If you are interested to read more on certain common spine related conditions then click on the links below.

Lower Back Pain
Herniated Disc

A neurologist is commonly involved in the care of patients with diseases of the spine. 

Spinal Diseases to Neurology Articles

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