Conditions We Treat

Treatment options vary according to the injury or disorder and each patient’s individual needs, including lifestyle, risk factors, conditions and medical history. The specialists at the UC Health Back, Neck and Spine Center will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that helps you get back on your feet.

Click to expand a topic and learn more about treatment options.

Back and neck pain can range from mild and annoying aches, to persistent and debilitating pain. It can be acute, coming on suddenly or intensely; or chronic pain that lasts for weeks, months or even years. Always consult a healthcare provider for persistent pain.

Back and neck pain can result from a variety of causes, including strenuous activity, trauma, aging, infection, smoking and other medical issues. If you experience back or neck pain, visit your healthcare provider for a medical and physical exam. Imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI are often used to diagnose back and neck pain and its underlying causes.

Acute back and neck pain is often treated with rest and over-the-counter medication. Chronic pain is often treated with physical therapy, exercise, and medical intervention.

For severe, disabling, or chronic back and neck pain, the UC Health Back, Neck and Spine Center will work with you to customize a treatment and rehabilitation plan that fits your lifestyle and your needs.

Kyphosis, or curvature of the spine, is a spinal deformity that occurs when the bones in the upper part of the spine curve forward, resulting in a rounded or “humpback” appearance.

The condition can be congenital or acquired through conditions such as spina bifida or neuromuscular conditions. Symptoms include a difference in shoulder height, a head that bends forward compared with the rest of the body, or an upper back that appears higher than normal.

Kyphosis is diagnosed through blood tests and imaging such as X-ray and MRI. Treatment options may include continued observation, braces or surgery.

The vertebral column, or backbone, is made up of 33 vertebrae that are separated by spongy discs. These discs can break down, most commonly due to aging or injury. They occasionally rupture, which puts pressure upon nearby nerve roots.

Most ruptured, or herniated, discs occur in the lower (lumbar) region of the spine, causing pain, weakness and numbness. Other symptoms can include muscle spasms, sciatica, and loss of bladder or bowel control.

A herniated disc is diagnosed via an X-ray or MRI. Other tests, including CT scans and EMG, are also used. Treatment options include rest, physical therapy, weight control, medication and surgery to remove the herniated disc.

The UC Health Back, Neck and Spine Center will work with you to customize a treatment and rehabilitation plan that fits your lifestyle and your needs.

Sciatica, also called lumbar radiculopathy, is a pain that originates along your sciatic nerve. This nerve extends from the back of your pelvis down the back of your thigh. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your entire body.

Sciatica is commonly caused by a herniated (or bulging) disc in your spine that presses on the sciatic nerve. Pressure on the nerve may also be caused by obesity, tumor, abscess or blood clot. Sciatica most commonly affects individuals between the ages of 30 and 50.

Symptoms of sciatica include lower back pain that radiates down the buttock or thigh; pain that extends from the buttock to the foot; and numbness or weakness. Sciatica is diagnosed through X-ray, MRI and other testing.

Sciatica typically heals on its own with rest and time. It is generally treated with anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, heat and cold applied to the affected area, and movement. If the sciatica is caused by a herniated disc, surgery may also be performed.

The spinal cord is a long bundle of nerve fibers and nerve cells that extend from the base of the skull to below the waist. It is protected by the bones of your spine. The spinal cord nerves carry messages between the brain and the rest of the body. For that reason, injuries to the spinal cord are very serious. They may cause loss of feeling below the injured area (numbness) or loss of the ability to move (paralysis). Emergency treatment may help prevent permanent damage or may reduce the severity of the damage.

A normal spine is straight, running parallel to a person’s body. But a spine affected by scoliosis is curved, and appears in the shape of an S or a C.

In many cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown. It may also be caused by arthritis, osteoporosis or a genetic condition, however.

Symptoms include an asymmetrical appearance in the sides of the back, shoulders, arms or hips. Sciolosis is diagnosed via X-ray, MRI or CT scan. Early diagnosis of scoliosis is most important for successful treatment.

Treatment options depend upon the severity of the curve and include observation, braces and surgical intervention.

Lumbar spinal stenosis is caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal, which places pressure upon the spinal cord or nerves in the back. Spinal stenosis mostly commonly occurs in the lower back and most commonly afflicts individuals aged 50 and older.

The most common cause of lumbar spinal stenosis is osteoarthritis, the gradual wear and tear that happens to your joints over time. Spinal stenosis is diagnosed through an X-ray and other imaging.

Symptoms include difficulty walking distances, and pain or numbness in your legs. There is no cure for lumbar spinal stenosis, but many treatment options exist. These include physical therapy, medication, and surgical treatments. Acupuncture and chiropractic care are also helpful for some patients.

Spinal cord tumors are tumors that form on the spinal cord or in the area around it. A spinal cord tumor may be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign). Even if benign, a tumor often causes pain and discomfort because it pushes on the spinal cord or nerves.

A spinal cord tumor may be called “primary,” which means the cancer started in the spinal cord, or “secondary,” which means the cancer started somewhere else in body and spread to the spinal cord. Most of the time, spinal cord tumors are secondary tumors. A spinal cord tumor is often a cancer of the lung, breast, prostate, or another cancer that has extended throughout the body to reach the spine.

Spinal cord tumors are sometimes caused by a genetic disorder, like neurofibromatosis.

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