For our bodies to complete even the simplest processes, the brain has to send out electromagnetic impulses. But the brain alone cannot communicate with the entire body. Our spinal cord serves the purpose of delivering these impulses to the rest of the body. Under the cylindrical bony structure, there exists a complex network of nerves that carry impulses from the brain to different parts of the body and back. The spinal cord also connects the limbs and the muscle groups that aid walking and movement. Any faults in the spinal cord can lead to paralysis or degeneration of the leg muscles. Because of its structure, the spinal cord also plays an important part in reflexes. This means that without a functioning spine, reflexes like sneezing, coughing, batting eyelids, etc. would not be possible.
This bundle of nervous tissue makes the spine extremely delicate in spite of its strong exterior. Even the smallest amount of damage to the spine can lead to irreversible damage. Spinal injuries are tricky to treat and require intensive care.
The spinal cord is made of 26 vertebrae that are bone discs that protect the inner cord and allow us to movements like standing upright and bending. The nerves, the vertebrae, and the surrounding tissue are all susceptible to damage from infections, tumors, injuries, and other disorders. These disorders can surface as a bone change that is brought about by age, or even from conditions like rheumatoid spondylitis.
Such diseases are often painful and may confine or in severe cases even stop movement. This is due to the increased amount of pressure on the nerve tissue. The degeneration of the bones, ligaments, and disks can be treated with medicine and physical therapy. However, if the pain persists, spinal surgery may be required.
Disorders can be structural, like spinal stenosis, scoliosis and kyphotic deformities, spondylolisthesis. Or the disorders can even be due to congenital defects like spina bifida, tethered spinal cord, and diastematomyelia. Apart from these trauma and tumor are the major causes of spinal problems. Injuries to the bone or vertebrae like fractures caused by motor vehicle accidents, fall from heights, etc. can destroy the nerves. Tumors or growths on the spinal cord like ependymomas, meningiomas, etc. can put pressure on the nerves.
Symptoms of spine disorders vary from weakness or loss of muscle function, loss of sensation in extremities, and even loss of bladder and bowel control.
Treatment for injuries like broken vertebra may be a two-step. First, the broken pieces of bone must be surgically removed. This will relieve the pressure and prevent further damage or infections. Second, the actual cord has to be treated. This may require inserting rods or plates to support the spine.
Treatment for other disorders of the spine depends heavily on the root of the problem. Some conditions like bone growth or tumors may require a surgery, while others like bending or increased spine curvature may be treated with a brace and physical therapy.
However, what is most important is to prevent the escalation of the condition and getting to a doctor as soon as symptoms start appearing. The spine is a very sensitive organ and damage to it can be seriously debilitating.
Some treatments that can be used for spine care.
Physical therapy for spine problems may include:
Retraining your posture
Stretching and flexibility exercises
Have a diet that's rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12. It will help you in maintaining a healthy weight and reduce the pressure on the spine.
Avoid smoking and pay attention to the body. Walk whenever you can. Take a break after every hour to walk around. Because sitting for a long time can put pressure on the spine.
Acupuncture, massage, analgesics, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to treat spinal problems. Some spinal problems need to get surgery also.
Spine care and surgery are very important to work properly. If you have spine disorders and chronic pain, treat it immediately. Otherwise, it gets worse with time and pain.
Here are some preventive tips to prevent spine disorders.
Wear comfortable shoes.
Maintain proper posture.
Reduce stress, tension, and anxiety.
Lose excess weight.
Have a proper diet.
Some tests to diagnose spine disorders.
Magnetic resonance imaging