Tuesday 5 October 2010

Spine Injury Pain

Pain can be severe after spinal cord injury (SCI). Sports injuries or trauma caused from trips or falls can leave patients with acute or chronic pain and may prevent normal activities such driving, working or lifting. Spinal nerve root damage may be caused by a ruptured disc in the neck or lower back, tumours, injury or infection.

There are different types of pain:

Musculosketal pain is caused by damage or trauma to the muscles, bones or joints of the body. The pain is aggravated by movement of these areas and if caused by injury it should recover within a few days. The sensation is dull and aching; resting the body will ease musculoskeletal pain. Over use of muscles can result in musculoskeletal pain. Relief can be found in treatments such as acupuncture.

Bone pain
tends to be deeper and more penetrating and is most commonly caused by injury. Other causes may be osteomyelitis (infection) or tumours. If a patient experiences bone pain but has not incurred an injury to the area, medical consultation should be sought to rule out anything more serious.

Tendon or ligament pain can be caused by tendinitis, lateral epicondylitis, tenosynovitis or tendon injuries. Tendon pain can be less extreme than bone pain and these tend to originate from sprains caused through sport.
Spinal nerve root damage may be caused by a ruptured disc in the neck or lower back. Tumours within the spinal cord which may be either benign or malignant can cause pain

Spinal Cord Damage

Spinal cord damage results from trauma or injury to the neck or back. Spinal stenosis may also be a cause, which is a narrowing of a blood vessel or other tubular organ or structure. Stenosis is usually diagnosed from medical imaging although it can also be detected using a stethoscope. Spinal nerve root damage may be caused by a ruptured disc in the neck or lower back.

Spinal Cord Tumours

Tumours within the spinal cord which may be either benign or malignant but both can cause pain. Tumours occur when cells within the central nervous system do not grow and multiply in a controlled way. In malignant tumours the wayward cells can move to other sections of the CNS causing damage to the tissue. Benign tumours remain in one site. Symptoms of spine tumours may include restricted motor control or clumsiness or incontinence.

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Slipped Disc Lower Back Pain

A prolapsed disc, or slipped disc is when a disc in the spinal column is ruptured or split causing it to leak the gel like contents into the vertebrae. Damaged discs can be extremely painful and can cause extreme pain in both the back and other areas of the body.
Slipped discs often occur in the lower back or lumbar part of the spine where the pressure on these discs is greatest. Slipped discs are much more common in men than women and tend to occur in people aged 30-50. Straining physical activity such ash heavy lifting without adequate stretching can cause a slipped disc as can sport or something as minor as simply bending over.
The spinal cord is comprised of twenty four vertebrae (individual disc shaped bones) which, sit on top of each other in a column. Each vertebrae is separated from the next by a disc of strong flexible tissue which enables the spine to move freely without friction or discomfort. The discs outer layer is rubber like and fibrous whilst the inner consistency is softer and like jelly. When a disc slips it is this inner substance which leaks out causing the disc to lose its padding and for nerves to become squashed and the spinal column to become painful.
A symptom of a slipped disc is back pain which can be chronic or mild. The pain may appear quickly without warning or build up and is often eased by lying flat. Movement, such coughing or sneezing can aggravate the pain.  As there are nerve endings within the spinal cord, pressure from the slipped disc may cause pain to be felt along the affected nerve strain so pain can be felt in the lower legs in addition to the back.
Treatments for slipped disc include painkiller medication. Anti-inflammatory painkillers such as Nurofen or Ibuprufen can work better than Paracetamol as they work to reduce any swelling that may be round the nerve.  Muscle relaxants such as diazepam can be prescribed by your doctor if the pain is particularly bad.
In general prolapsed discs tend to recover unaided within a couple of weeks although in some cases surgery is necessary.