Back & Spine
At Orthopedic Health of Kansas City, we have a comprehensive approach to back and spine care, which means that our patients receive world-class, individualized treatment from our team of specialists that are dedicated to providing and delivering high-quality care. Whether it’s a pulled muscle, osteoporosis, or a herniated disc, we know how debilitating spinal conditions can be. We are committed to reducing pain and increasing function, so patients can get back to what they love.
Anatomy of the
Back & Spine
The spine is made up of 24 bones, called vertebrae. These bones stack on top of each other, creating a tunnel-like system that protects the spinal cord. The spinal cord is responsible for communicating messages from your brain to the rest of your body.
Not only does your spine protect the spinal cord, but it also supports your head, chest, and the rest of your body as it allows you to bend and twist.
Intervertebral discs separate your vertebrae like cushions to absorb any shock and keep the vertebrae from crashing into each other.
Back & Spine
Osteoporosis & Spinal Fractures
Osteoporosis develops when the body loses too much bone or makes too little of it, or both. This causes bones to weaken and can make people more susceptible to breaks from a fall. As bones weaken, simple everyday activities such as bending, twisting, or even sneezing can cause a bone to break in the spine.
With osteoporosis, most vertebrae break near the waistline. Symptoms include pain near the fracture site, with pain worsening if the person stands or sits over a long period of time.
Most fractures will heal over the course of 6-8 weeks with minimal, noninvasive treatments. A physician will usually prescribe rest, medication, and on occasion, a brace. If fractures don’t respond to these measures or cause severe pain, surgery may be required.
Back & Spine
Herniated discs occur in the neck or lower back and can cause pain in those areas, along with the arms and legs. Discs are rubbery pads that grow between the vertebrae to keep them from touching each other and to also absorb shock from running and jumping motions. They also allow the back to bend and flex easily without pain.
A thick outer ring of tough cartilage protects the jelly-like substance inside the discs. When a disc herniates, the soft center pushes through the outer lining and back toward the spinal canal, putting pressure on the nerves and causes pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs.
As we age, these discs lose water content and become less flexible. They shrink, allowing the vertebrae to move closer and closer. Symptoms of lower back herniation include lower back pain, neck pain, but can more commonly include a shooting pain from the buttock down the back of one leg (sciatica). Herniated discs in the neck can cause pain shooting down the arm, burning pain in the neck, headaches, and even loss of bladder or bowel control.
Our team of experts can help diagnose a herniated disc. Luckily, non-surgical treatment can alleviate symptoms in 90% of patients. Rest, pain relievers, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory medicines and cold compresses are usually recommended. If the disc fragments lodge within the spinal canal and puts pressure on nerves, surgery may be required.
Fracture of the
Thoracic & Lumbar Spine
Spinal injuries are never taken lightly. There are many reasons why you might be experiencing back pain. Whether it was from a car accident, is hereditary, or is caused by age, our specialists are trained to assess and determine the scope of the injury and the best course of action.
The most common fractures to the spine occur in the mid-back (thoracic), lower-back (lumbar), or at the connection of the two sections (thoracolumbar junction). Fractures are typically caused by high-impact trauma, such as car accidents, falls from significant height, sports accidents, or gunshot wounds.
Because these fractures are typically accompanied by other injuries, a physical examination by a doctor is followed by a radiologic exam. Often times, depending on the fracture, recovery involves a simple brace and decreased movement. More severe injuries may require back surgery.
If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, please contact Orthopedic Health of Kansas City and make an appointment with one of our Kansas City spine and back specialists. They will perform a complete examination, diagnosing and ultimately treating any problem. From simple physical therapy to complicated surgery, you’re in good hands with Orthopedic Health of Kansas City and we will do what it takes to get you active again.