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The spine, also known as the spinal column, runs from the base of the skull to the pelvis. It is made up of a stack of small bones (vertebrae). Between each vertebra are soft, gel-like cushions known as discs that absorb shock and prevent the bones from rubbing against each other.
The spinal column:
Injuries to your spine or lower back affect your movement and may lead to paralysis in severe cases. Learn more about the common conditions that affect the back and spine, as well as related orthopaedic treatments.
Degenerative spine conditions are a result of wear and tear on your spinal discs, joints and bones.
These conditions affect your lower back and neck areas, causing pain and movement limitations. Degenerative spine disease may lead to conditions such as:
Learn more about degenerative spine conditions and our treatments.
Lower back pain is one of the most common conditions related to spine health.
There are many reasons for lower back pain. One of the common causes is a gradual strain to the lower back muscles due to:
Degenerative change can affect the facet joint that links 2 vertebrae together in the spinal column. It can also affect the intervertebral discs that absorb shock between each vertebra. Both of these changes can result in facet joint arthritis.
Another cause of lower back pain is tiny injuries from everyday activities over time. These injuries can affect the intervertebral discs, spinal ligaments or facet joints, and cause general, non-specific lower back pain, movement limitations, and degeneration.
Signs and symptoms of an injury to the lower back include:
Treatment for lower back pain depends on your clinical condition and the severity of your injury. Your doctor will assess your injury before recommending a treatment plan tailored to your condition and goal.
Speak to our orthopaedic specialists for diagnosis and treatment of your lower back pain.
Lumbar spinal stenosis is a progressive condition where the space around the spinal cord narrows. This puts pressure on the cord and nerves that travel through the lower back into the legs.
Symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis include:
Learn more about lumbar spinal stenosis and our treatments.
Sciatica, also known as lumbar radiculopathy, is pain along the sciatic nerve, which extends from the back of the pelvis down the back of the thigh and leg.
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, and also the main nerve of the leg. It controls the muscles while providing sensation to various parts of your leg.
Sciatica usually affects only one side of the body, where you may feel a lower back pain that radiates down the buttock and back of one thigh, as well as sensory changes and weakness in that leg.
Learn more about sciatica and our treatments.
A slipped disc is when a fibrocartilage disc between the bony segments of the spine is damaged and presses on the nerves. This condition is also known as a 'herniated', 'ruptured' or 'prolapsed' disc.
The symptoms of a slipped disc include:
Learn more about slipped discs and our treatments.
Spondylosis, also known as spinal osteoarthritis, is a degenerative condition of the joints of the spine, and usually also involves the discs, ligaments and joints.
In spondylosis, the discs between the vertebrae (spinal bones) lose their cushioning effect, the facet joints develop arthritis, and the ligaments thicken or weaken. This can lead to small stress fractures that weaken the vertebrae. In more severe cases, certain bones may shift or slip out of place.
Spondylosis is likely to result in:
Learn more about spondylosis and our treatments.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which your bone tissues break down faster than your body can rebuild them, leading to brittle and weak bones. This increases your risk of fractures, especially in the spine, hips, and wrists.
It is hard to detect bone loss in the early stages. With multiple osteoporotic spinal fractures, you may notice:
If you have a spinal fracture (also known as a collapsed vertebra or a vertebra fracture), you may also experience a sudden onset of back pain.
Learn more about osteoporosis and our treatments.