Learn How to Manage Your Spinal Health

In the words of the famous Greek philosopher, Socrates, “If you would seek health, look first to the spine.” Quite literally the pillar of strength, and the backbone of your body, your spine is an important measure of your overall health. From age-triggered osteoarthritis or poor posture, to impact sports injuries or obesity, there are various reasons why you may develop spinal injuries or other degenerative conditions. Here’s an overview of the various types of issues, their causes and the treatment options.

The Basics of Spinal Health 

Types and Causes of Spinal Trauma Conditions

  • Spinal Stenosis: This degenerative condition causes your spinal canal to compress. 
    • Acquired Spinal Stenosis: Occurs due to wear and tear of the cartilages that cushion the spinal vertebrae. 
    • Primary Spinal Stenosis: A congenital condition (birth defect), in which the narrow spinal canal and its related problems becomes apparent years later, in your adulthood.

As a result of spinal canal compression, the nerve roots and spinal cord that travel through your spine undergo tremendous pressure, causing back pain, numbness or severe cramping.  

  • Spinal Spondylosis: Also called spinal osteoarthritis, spondylosis is a generic term that describes spinal degeneration, typically brought on by the natural aging process. The wear and tear of the spinal discs, muscles, tendons, ligaments or cartilage can cause inflammation, joint friction, or painful, stiff and weak back muscles. This can significantly impact or impair your bodily movements. Depending on the location of the affected area, the spondylosis may be lumbar (lower back), thoracic (upper or mid back), cervical (neck) or multilevel.
  • Spinal HNP: Herniated Nucleus Pulposus (HNP) is a lumbar spine condition in which one or more discs in your spine dislocate or compress due to pressure from the surrounding vertebrae. The herniated disc can cause chronic lower back pain or sciatica. 

Common Symptoms of Spinal Degeneration:  

  • Spot pain in the affected part of the back or neck 
  • Moving pain or a tingling sensation
  • Numbness or lack of sensation on the back
  • Feeling of warmth or stiffness of joints 
  • Weak back muscles or reduced range of motion in the spine

Options for Treating Spinal Health Issues

Most often, you will find relief for stenosis, spondylosis or HNP through conservative, non-surgical methods such as:

  • Complete bed rest or drastic reduction in strenuous physical activities
  • Over-the-counter pain relief medication, or anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Prescription medication with higher doses, if over-the-counter options do not work
  • Joint injections that temporarily numb the pain
  • Epidural or corticosteroid steroid injections that arrest and reduce the inflammation around a compressed nerve root
  • Physical therapy or chiropractic care for healing soft tissues and strengthening the muscles that support the spine

Your doctor may consider an invasive procedure to surgically remove or relocate the herniated disc, if you do not respond to the non-invasive treatments, or face severe issues such as: 

  • Reflex or mobility problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Severe nerve root pain accompanied by sensory defects

At Medical Rehabilitation Centers of Pennsylvania (MRCP), our qualified physical therapists have over two decades of experience in treating spinal health issues. With comprehensive multi-level diagnostics and tailor-made physical therapies, we address a wide range of spinal conditions and spinal injuries. Our focus is on pain relief, as well as restoration of mobility and function.

MRCP serves residents in and around Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia area. To make an appointment for physical therapy treatments, contact us at the location of your choice, or complete our online form and we will get back to you soon.