Spine Information

Spine Conditions

Spinal Cord Explained

Understanding the structure and functions of the spine can help you better understand some of the problems that occur from aging or injury. The bones and the curves of spine: The spine is made up of 33 bones

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Degenerative Spine

The spine is a complex structure comprised of muscles,vertebrae,cartilage,discs & ligaments, all of which naturally deteriorate as we age. In fact, the joints of the spine are more susceptible to deterioration

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Spinal Infections

A spinal infection rarely affects the nerves in the spine. However, the infection may move into the spinal canal and cause an epidural abscess, which can place pressure on the neural elements.

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Spinal Deformity

The spine is made up of over 25 small bones called vertebrae that support the upper body. The cervical spine (C-spine) is the upper portion, comprised of seven vertebrae. It supports the neck and head.

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Cranio-Vertebral Pathologies

This dedicated volume in the series Advances and Technical Standards in Neurosurgery (ATSN) provides a comprehensive approach to diseases of the craniovertebral junction (CVJ)

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Skeletal Fluorosis

Symptoms are mainly promoted in the bone structure. Due to a high fluoride concentration in the body, the bone is hardened and thus less elastic, resulting in an increased frequency of fractures.

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Spinal Tumours

A spinal tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue within or surrounding the spinal cord and/or spinal column. These cells grow and multiply uncontrollably, seemingly unchecked...

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Spinal Cord

Understanding the structure and functions of the spine can help you better understand some of the problems that occur from aging or injury. The bones and the curves of spine: The spine is made up of 33 bones, each called a vertebra, that are stacked on one another with a DISC in-between. It has three segments which form three natural curves. The "c-shaped" curves of the neck (cervical spine) and lower back (lumbar spine) are called lordosis and the "reverse c-shaped" curve of the chest (thoracic spine) is called kyphosis.

These curves are important for proper spinal balance and help us to stand upright. If any one of the curves becomes too large or small, it becomes difficult to stand up straight and our posture appears abnormal. Abnormal curvatures of the spine are also referred to as spinal deformity.(Refer to Kyphosis, Scoliosis or Spondylolisthesis) Distribution of vertebrae.

  • 7 cervical vertebra in your neck region
  • 12 thoracic or Dorsal vertebrae at the back of your chest region
  • 5 Lumbar vertebrae at the back of your abdomen
  • 5 sacral vertebrae at the back of your pelvis and
  • 4 small vertebra fused together to form the coccyx (tailbone).

The DISC and Facets: The Intervertebral disks are flat and round, and about a half inch thick in the lower back region and quarter inch in the neck region. They are made up of two components; a tough outer layer (annulus fibrosis) that surrounds a softer material called the nucleus pulposus. These discs act as shock absorbers for the spinal bones.


The vertebrae are connected to one another by two joints from behind called as FACET joints. Together with the Disc, they form a 3 joint complex allowing motion between the vertebrae. These vertebrae connect to one another to create a canal in the center (Spinal canal) which houses the spinal cord and also protects it. The spinal Cord: As you know, the spinal cord is an extension of the brain, containing nervous tissue.
The spinal cord is bathed in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and surrounded by three protective layers called the meninges (dura, arachnoid, and pia mater). There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves that come out of the spinal cord on either side of the vertebrae which transmit electrical signals from the spinal cord to different parts of your body. The spinal cord ends at first Lumbar vertebra , below this is a collection of nerves known as the cauda equina, which is Latin for "horse’s tail“.

Injury to the spinal cord:

(Any injury to the spinal cord may cause death of the nerve cells. Like the brain, the nerve cells once dead cannot be replaced. Hence, depending on the severity of injury, paralysis can be partial or complete and permanent).

Most common causes:
  • Trauma (fractures of the vertebra)
  • Infections of the spine (eg.Tuberculosis of spine)
  • Tumors of the spine or the spinal cord
  • Congenital abnormalities of the vertebrae causing crooked spine/ very narrow spinal canal
Functions of the spine:

Spine is the main structural support to torso and neck, which allows to stand straight The spine protects the spinal cord by forming a bony wall around it similar to the skull bone protecting the brain. However, the spine is more complex as it allows movements of our body without causing any damage to the spinal cord

Degenerative Spine

The spine is a complex structure comprised of muscles, vertebrae, cartilage, discs and ligaments, all of which naturally deteriorate as we age. In fact, the joints of the spine are more susceptible to deterioration than any other region of the body. Degenerative spinal conditions, particularly those involving the shock-absorbing discs, shouldn’t be taken lightly. Our discs act as protective cushions and prevent our vertebrae from grinding together. Any disruption can compress and aggravate nerves, cause pain and discomfort and even limit mobility.

Although certain spinal conditions do not become apparent until they begin to cause secondary complications, waiting too long to obtain an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment can oftentimes mean increasing the severity of symptoms. At Minimally Invasive SpineCARE®, our team of highly-skilled spine specialists is committed to helping you find safe, evidence-based solutions to your spine-related concerns.

Degenerative Spine Causes

Aging and the general wear and tear associated with the body’s natural processes are the primary causes of degenerative spine conditions. Every time we twist, move and bend, strain is placed upon our spine. Many factors besides time can encourage or accelerate degenerative spine disorders, including.

  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Degenerative disc disease.
  • Slipped or herniated discs.

If you believe you may be at risk for rapid or premature spine degeneration, schedule a consultation with one of our spine experts. By making minor adjustments and living mindfully, it is often possible to slow or reduce the effects of degenerative spine conditions.

Spinal Infections

A spinal infection rarely affects the nerves in the spine. However, the infection may move into the spinal canal and cause an epidural abscess, which can place pressure on the neural elements. If this happens in the cervical or thoracic spine, it can result in paraplegia or quadriplegia. If it happens in the lumbar spine it can result in cauda equina syndrome (a syndrome that leads to bowel and bladder incontinence, saddle anesthesia, and possible lower extremity weakness).

In the past, tuberculosis infections caused by Mycobacterium Tuberculosis were very common. In North America, this type of infection is not common anymore, but it remains a common organism and cause of spinal infections in countries where there is a lot of poverty. Intravenous drug users are more likely than other patients to contract Mycobacterium Tuberculosis.

Symptoms

Symptoms vary depending on the type of spinal infection but, generally, pain is localized initially at the site of the infection. In postoperative patients, these additional symptoms may be present:

  • Severe back pain.
  • Painful or difficult urination.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Neurological deficits.

Patients may initially have very few symptoms, but eventually develop severe back pain. Generally, younger, preverbal children do not have a fever nor seem to be in pain, but they will refuse to flex their spines. Children ages 3 to 9 typically present with back pain as the predominant symptom.

Spinal Deformity

The spine is made up of over 25 small bones called vertebrae that support the upper body. The cervical spine (C-spine) is the upper portion, comprised of seven vertebrae. It supports the neck and head. The thoracic spine (T-spine) is comprised of 12 vertebrae, which connect to the rib cage and support the torso. The lumbar spine (L-spine) has five large vertebrae that support most of the body’s mass and weight. The sacrum is the base of the spine, and in most people, is comprised of 2-4 partially fused bones terminating in the coccyx (commonly known as the tailbone) within the pelvis.

The normal human spine has gentle curvatures, but when those curves are exaggerated, extreme, or displaced they’re considered deformities. Some deformities are subtle and not easily detected in a growing child. Signs of spine deformities include.

Associated diagnoses

A physical examination by your doctor is necessary to determine a deformity of the spine. Screening evaluations of children are routinely done in physician offices and at schools. These evaluations commonly involve a diagnostic test called the Adam’s forward bend test.

  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
  • Basal cell nevus syndrome..
  • Degenerative lumbar scoliosis.
  • Meningomyelocele.

A physical examination by your doctor is necessary to determine a deformity of the spine. Screening evaluations of children are routinely done in physician offices and at schools. These evaluations commonly involve a diagnostic test called the Adam’s forward bend test.

Cranio-Vertebral Pathologies

This dedicated volume in the series Advances and Technical Standards in Neurosurgery (ATSN) provides a comprehensive approach to diseases of the craniovertebral junction (CVJ) and their management based on the multidisciplinary cooperation of neurosurgeons, anatomists, neuroradiologists, and neuroanesthesiologists. The contributing authors represent the most renowned clinical and surgical experts from Europe and beyond.

The main topics highlighted are embryology, normal and abnormal development of the CVJ, including the related vessels, modern radiological contributions to diagnosis, genetic and metabolic factors which may impact on the surgical strategies, the opportunities offered by traditional operative techniques, and the recently introduced minimally invasive and endoscopic surgical modalities.

Developmental and acquired malformations
Craniovertebral junction (CVJ) anomalies can be congenital, developmental or due to malformation secondary to any acquired disease process. These anomalies can lead to cranial nerve compression, vertebral artery compression and obstructive hydrocephalus.

  • Malformations of the occipital sclerotome.
  • Malformations of atlas vertebra.
  • Malformation of axis and odontoid process.
  • Developmental and acquired malformations.

The cranio-vertebral junction is formed by the occipital condyles, atlas (C1), axis (C2) vertebrae and their articulations. Any process which can give rise to malformation of these structures, may result in CVJ anomaly. It can be due to congenital, developmental or acquired cause.

Skeletal Fluorosis

Symptoms are mainly promoted in the bone structure. Due to a high fluoride concentration in the body, the bone is hardened and thus less elastic, resulting in an increased frequency of fractures. Other symptoms include thickening of the bone structure and accumulation of bone tissue, which both contribute to impaired joint mobility. Ligaments and cartilage can become ossified.

Most patients suffering from skeletal fluorosis show side effects from the high fluoride dose such as ruptures of the stomach lining and nausea.[2] Fluoride can also damage the parathyroid glands, leading to hyperparathyroidism, the uncontrolled secretion of parathyroid hormones. These hormones regulate calcium concentration in the body.

Materials and Methods

Fluoride is one of the anions that endanger human health at concentrations lower and higher than the standard, and this is one of the main problems in most parts of the world. About 200 million people from 25 countries are exposed to high concentrations of fluoride from groundwater sources1,2. Fluoride is an element from the halogen group and its average concentration in the Earth’s crust is 0.3kg, while its background concentration in the atmosphere is 3 ng per m2.

  • Determination of the water fluoride concentration.
  • Physico-chemical characteristics.
  • Study areas.
  • Statistical method.

To present the data, mean, standard deviation, median and range were used. To compare the case and control groups, Chi-square and Mann-Whitney tests were used. To obtain the odds ratio of bone disease problem in different risk factors, when considering the cluster effect of rural area, logistic regression in a multilevel model was used.

Spinal Tumours

A spinal tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue within or surrounding the spinal cord and/or spinal column. These cells grow and multiply uncontrollably, seemingly unchecked by the mechanisms that control normal cells. Spinal tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Primary tumors originate in the spine or spinal cord, and metastatic or secondary tumors result from cancer spreading from another site to the spine.

Spinal tumors may be referred to by the region of the spine in which they occur. These basic areas are cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacrum. Additionally, they also are classified by their location in the spine into three major groups: intradural-extramedullary, intramedullary and extradural.

Developmental and acquired malformations
Craniovertebral junction (CVJ) anomalies can be congenital, developmental or due to malformation secondary to any acquired disease process. These anomalies can lead to cranial nerve compression, vertebral artery compression and obstructive hydrocephalus.

  • Vertebral Column Tumors
  • Intradural-Extramedullary Tumors
  • Intramedullary Tumors

Intramedullary tumors are rare, accounting for only five to 10 percent of all spinal tumors. Benign tumors such as meningiomas and neurofibromas account for 55 to 65 percent of all primary spinal tumors. Meningiomas most frequently occur in women between the ages of 40 and 70. Metastatic spinal tumors are the most common type of malignant lesions of the spine, accounting for an estimated 70 percent of all spinal tumors.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.

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