For more information on our programs and services, call 1-800-ALVARADO (258-2723).
Spine surgery may be used to treat a variety of spinal disorders and conditions, including:
Discs are the cushion-like shock absorbers located between the bones (vertebrae). A disc herniation is when a disc bulges (herniated disc), slips out of place (slipped disc) or ruptures its outer band (ruptured disc) and the gel-like interior leaks into the spinal canal, oftentimes placing pressure on the nerves.
Degenerative spine disorders, also called degenerative disc disorder (DDD), occur as the interverterbral disc (the cushion-like pad between the vertebrae) deteriorates. This is commonly a result of aging. Over time, minor injuries, biochemical changes and repeated daily stresses can add up and begin to affect the discs in your spine. The disc eventually begins to suffer from the wear and tear and begins to degenerate. Examples of degenerative spine disorders are osteoarthritis, spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis.
A sprain (or strain) is caused by an injury to the soft tissues surrounding the spine: muscles, ligaments and/or tendons. A fracture is a complete or incomplete break in a vertebra (bone) and is usually due to conditions such as osteoporosis (a condition which weakens the bones), excessive pressure, a very hard fall, or some kind of physical injury.
Spine deformities are malalignments in the curvatures of the spine. All spines have curves, but occasionally the spine twists and develops curves in the wrong direction, affecting a person's posture. Common examples of spinal deformities are scoliosis, spondylolisthesis and kyphosis.
Spinal tumors, also called neoplasms, are abnormal growths of tissue found inside the spinal column. Tumors that originate in the spine are called primary tumors and are very rare. Primary tumors are either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign tumors can cause pain and damage bone tissue, but are not as serious as malignant tumors, which can spread cancer to other parts of the body.
Sciatica is not a medical condition but instead it is a term to describe a set of symptoms. These symptoms may be caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, or compression/irritation of one of the nerve roots that connect to the sciatic nerve. The pain is typically felt in the lower back, buttock, leg or foot. In addition to pain, which is sometimes severe, there may be numbness, muscular weakness, and difficulty in moving or controlling the leg. Often the symptoms are only felt on one side of the body. Again, it is important to remember that sciatica refers to a set of symptoms rather than a medical condition because treatment for sciatica will often be different, depending upon the source causing these symptoms.
Spondylolisthesis is a spinal disorder in which one vertebra slips forward over the vertebra below it. This usually affects the low back (lumbar spine). The condition may be classified as congenital, degenerative, or isthmic. Congenital means a disorder present at birth, degenerative is often age-related, and isthmic spondylolisthesis occurs when there is a defect or fracture of the bone which connects the upper and lower facet joints.
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of one or more areas in your spine—most often in your upper or lower back. This narrow ing can put pressure on your spinal cord or on the nerves that branch out from the compressed areas.
Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side, and may also be rotated. This is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. On an X-ray, the spine of an individual with a typical scoliosis may look more like an "S" or a "C" than a straight line. It is typically classified as congenital, degenerative or ideopathic. Congenital means a disorder present at birth, degenerative is often age-related, and ideopathic is of unknown cause.
Kyphosis, also called "hunch back,” is a common condition of a curvature of the upper (thoracic) spine. It can be either the result of bad posture (slouching) or a structural, muscular abnormalty in the spine. In the sense of a deformity, it is the pathological curving of the spine, where parts of the spinal column lose some or all of their lordotic profile. This causes a bowing of the back, seen as a slouching back and breathing difficulties. Severe cases can cause great discomfort and even lead to death.
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is an inflammation of the joints caused by abnormal wearing of the cartilage that covers and cushions inside joints. It also involves a decrease of synovial fluid that lubricates those joints. As the bone surfaces become less protected by cartilage, the patient experiences pain upon weight bearing, including walking and standing. Due to decreased movement because of the pain, regional muscles may atrophy (degenerate), and ligaments may become more lax. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and the leading cause of chronic disability in the United States.