Archive for category facet joint

Facet Joint Health, Low Back Pain and Upper Back Pain review by KBNI Houston, Kingwood, Spring, Sugarland, Katy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Clear Lake, Memorial City, the Woodlands

facet joint, low back pain, back pain, physical therapy, spinal column, spondylolisthesis, spinal

facet joint, low back pain, back pain, physical therapy, spinal column, spondylolisthesis, spinal

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Facet Joint Health, Low Back Pain and Upper Back Pain

Simply put, the facet joint links the vertebrae of the human spinal column and allow for the articulation of the spine. When they facet joints are not functioning properly, or when they become degenerated, develop arthritis, or slip, they may be the cause of low back pain and upper back pain.  In addition to providing mobility, the facet joints also help stabilize the spinal column by being oriented in such a way that they decrease the chances of preventing forward vertebral slippage (spondylolisthesis). The ends of the facet joints are covered in cartilage, which allows for pain-free operation over a normal range of motion (bending, twisting, lifting, sitting, standing, etc.). While the cartilage does break down naturally over time (in this manner resembling cartilage in other parts of the body), the facet joints are still quite durable if direct physical trauma (such as from an accident) is not an issue. The condition known as spondylolisthesis exists when one vertebral body is slipped forward upon the vertebral body below.  This is also known as anterolisthesis.  When the vertebral body is slipped backward upon the vertebral body below, the condition is known as retrolisthesis.  Spondylolisthesis may occur as a result of degenerative changes of the facet joint.  When a patient has a condition known as spondylolysis, the patient is prone to develop spondylolisthesis.  Spondylolysis is a condition where there is a gap in what may be considered the roof over the spinal canal.  It may occur from an injury, or a person may be born with it.  When this condition occurs, the facet joint is no longer able to help support the vertebral bodies from slipping forward upon each other, and instead, all of this burden is placed upon the intervertebral disc, which separates two adjacent vertebral bodies.  Spondylolisthesis, whether anterolisthesis or retrolisthesis, may be related to low back pain or upper back pain, as it relates to possible instability of the spinal column.

facet joint, low back pain, back pain, physical therapy, spinal column, spondylolisthesis, spinal

facet joint, low back pain, back pain, physical therapy, spinal column, spondylolisthesis, spinal

 

With all of these essential functions, the facet joints are a little-known but important means to preventing low back pain and upper back pain. These joints, along with spinal discs (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae) help relieve pressure on the spinal nerves during routine motion, lowering the incidence of nerve compression (and accompanying sharp low back pain). Over time, however, the facet joints begin to break down just like any other mechanical component in the human body. Repetitive bending, lifting, and twisting can all accelerate the natural degenerative processes in the human spinal column, and the facet joints are no exception. The cartilage on the ends of the joints breaks down as spinal discs become thinner, harder, and less capable of bearing shock as we grow older. All of this leads to higher incidence of compressed (pinched) spinal nerves, which in turn can cause muscle weakness, numbness, low back pain, upper back pain, and decreases in overall mobility.

facet joint, low back pain, back pain, physical therapy, spinal column, spondylolisthesis, spinal, Houston, Pearland, Galleria, Beaumont, Baytown, Clear Lake, Port Arthur, Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Memorial City, Humble, Kingwood, Conroe, Tomball, Missouri City, Texas City, TMC, Texas Medical Center

facet joint, low back pain, back pain, physical therapy, spinal column, spondylolisthesis, spinal, Houston, Pearland, Galleria, Beaumont, Baytown, Clear Lake, Port Arthur, Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Memorial City, Humble, Kingwood, Conroe, Tomball, Missouri City, Texas City, TMC, Texas Medical Center

 

As such, maintaining the health of our facet joints as we age should be a priority for everyone. Patients with chronic low back pain and upper back pain are advised to explore the option of physical therapy or chiropractic designed specifically for the spine. Typically, spine-specific physical therapy programs use a regimen of core-strengthening exercises to build muscles along the spinal column and throughout the torso. Stronger core muscles are more capable of relieving load-bearing stress on other degenerated portions of the spine, such as the discs and facet joints. Continuing physical therapy at home will also help back pain patients maintain optimal muscle mass as they age, which will in turn lower the incidence of injury, low back pain  and increase overall mobility. Patients are advised to consult their physicians prior to beginning any physical therapy regimen to ensure they do not have any structural deformities that would be exacerbated by an exercise program. Imaging tests (x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) ) may be necessary to confirm this, depending on the physician’s findings during your physical exam.  Standing low back x rays in flexion and extension will show whether spondylolisthesis is stable, or whether it moves.

facet joint, low back pain, back pain, physical therapy, spinal column, spondylolisthesis, spinal, Houston, Pearland, Galleria, Beaumont, Baytown, Clear Lake, Port Arthur, Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Memorial City, Humble, Kingwood, Conroe, Tomball, Missouri City, Texas City, TMC, Texas Medical Center

facet joint, low back pain, back pain, physical therapy, spinal column, spondylolisthesis, spinal, Houston, Pearland, Galleria, Beaumont, Baytown, Clear Lake, Port Arthur, Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Memorial City, Humble, Kingwood, Conroe, Tomball, Missouri City, Texas City, TMC, Texas Medical Center

 

Low back pain is one of the most common reasons for individuals to visit their doctor, and for loss of work.  Finding the source of the low back pain is important, before the low back pain can be addressed, and treatment begun.  Causes of low back pain include the facet joint, the spinal disc itself, the ligaments attached to the low back spinal column, the nerves leaving the spine in the low back, and the muscles which attach to, and create movement in the low back.

 

 

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX takes care of patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Pearland, Galleria, Beaumont, Baytown, Clear Lake, Port Arthur, Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Memorial City, Humble, Kingwood, Conroe, Tomball, Missouri City, Texas City, and Texas Medical Center (TMC)

 

Patients suffering from a low back pain or neck pain, or who have been told they may require a low back surgery or neck sugery, can

contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at

…….  281-713-6296

…….  Or visit www.SpineHealth.com to schedule an appointment online

……. KBNI VIDEO on Back and Neck Pain Treatment : Don’t Live in Fear and Pain

 

 

Keywords: facet joint, low back pain, back pain, physical therapy, spinal column, spondylolisthesis, spinal, Houston, Pearland, Galleria, Beaumont, Baytown, Clear Lake, Port Arthur, Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Memorial City, Humble, Kingwood, Conroe, Tomball, Missouri City, Texas City, TMC, Texas Medical Center

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Automobile Accidents, Truck Accidents, Car Accidents and the Spine, review by Kraus Back and Neck Institute Houston, Baytown, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Sugarland, Katy, Spring, Pearland, Woodlands, Kingwood

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Automobile Accidents, Truck Accidents, Car Accidents and the Spine

 

spinal nerves, spinal, automobile accidents, accidents, truck accidents, motor vehicle injuries, spinal cord injury, spinal column, paralysis, bowel and bladder, numbness, nerves, injuries, pain, whiplash, weakness

spinal nerves, spinal, automobile accidents, accidents, truck accidents, motor vehicle injuries, spinal cord injury, spinal column, paralysis, bowel and bladder, numbness, nerves, injuries, pain, whiplash, weakness

Automobile accidents, arising from motor vehicle injuries or truck accident injuries,  are the most common source of new spinal cord injuries, accounting for roughly 35% of new injuries in a given year. Unfortunately, the nature of automobile and other motor vehicle accidents’ (including motor vehicle injuries and truck accidents) effects on patients is inherently unpredictable: the extent of the spinal cord injury depends upon the types of vehicles involved, how fast they were moving, which direction they were traveling at the point of impact, and a variety of other mechanical factors, not to mention the age and physical health of the vehicles’ passengers. Quick changes in direction (much faster than the body is normally subjected to) with massive inertial forces behind these changes can cause serious trauma within the spinal column. The body adjusts well to its own changes in direction, but when these large external forces act on the body, they can cause what is commonly known as whiplash: the body’s cervical facet joints  are hyperextended from the initial impact, then they “whip” back as the reactive force comes through, which can cause inflammation and severe pain, as well as permanent damage to spinal anatomy including discs, vertebrae, and spinal nerves.

 

spinal nerves, spinal, automobile accidents, accidents, truck accidents, motor vehicle injuries, spinal cord injury, spinal column, paralysis, bowel and bladder, numbness, nerves, injuries, pain, whiplash, weakness

spinal nerves, spinal, automobile accidents, accidents, truck accidents, motor vehicle injuries, spinal cord injury, spinal column, paralysis, bowel and bladder, numbness, nerves, injuries, pain, whiplash, weakness

Whiplash isn’t the only possible cause for injury to the spinal column during automobile accidents, however. Those same enormous forces resulting from the impact can crush parts of the spinal column, fragmenting vertebral bone and disc material. These cases are particularly dangerous, because if these shards pierce the walls of the spinal canal (the membraned structure that runs most of the length of the spinal column and houses the major tracts of spinal nerves), these nerves can suffer irreparable nerve damage. We depend on functional spinal nerves for interpreting fundamental motor control signals sent by the brain, as well as interpreting sensory data collected from other parts of the body. The spinal nerves sometimes cannot heal themselves if they are damaged, often meaning that a spinal cord injury has drastic negative consequences for a patient’s long-term mobility. Whiplash, paralysis, numbness, weakness, pain, deformity, and bowel and bladder problems are all potential consequences of spinal injury resulting from automobile accidents and from truck accidents.  Paralysis may occur focally in a limb, if the nerves to a limb are injured or severed.  Paralysis can also occur when the spinal cord itself is severely injured.  Bowel and bladder dysfunction may occur when there is damage to the spinal cord.

spinal nerves, spinal, automobile accidents, accidents, truck accidents, motor vehicle injuries, spinal cord injury, spinal column, paralysis, bowel and bladder, numbness, nerves, injuries, pain, whiplash, weakness, Houston, Baytown, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Sugarland, Katy, Spring, Pearland, Woodlands, Kingwood

spinal nerves, spinal, automobile accidents, accidents, truck accidents, motor vehicle injuries, spinal cord injury, spinal column, paralysis, bowel and bladder, numbness, nerves, injuries, pain, whiplash, weakness, Houston, Baytown, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Sugarland, Katy, Spring, Pearland, Woodlands, Kingwood

Fortunately, many injuries sustained during automobile accidents, whether they be car accidents or truck accidents,  may be successfully rehabilitated with spinal physical therapy, with the caveat of no permanent damage to the spinal nerves. As long as patients retain motor control, the long-term prognosis at maintaining their mobility through regular spinal physical therapy and spinal injury rehabilitation exercises is quite good. These rehabilitation exercises focus on re-building range of motion, flexibility, strength, and endurance, re-stabilizing the spinal column by core strengthening all the core muscles along the spine and throughout the torso. Once patients complete a spinal physical therapy program, they are advised to continue the exercises indefinitely in a home setting in order to maximize benefits to their long-term mobility.

spinal nerves, spinal, automobile accidents, accidents, truck accidents, motor vehicle injuries, spinal cord injury, spinal column, paralysis, bowel and bladder, numbness, nerves, injuries, pain, whiplash, weakness, Houston, Baytown, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Sugarland, Katy, Spring, Pearland, Woodlands, Kingwood

spinal nerves, spinal, automobile accidents, accidents, truck accidents, motor vehicle injuries, spinal cord injury, spinal column, paralysis, bowel and bladder, numbness, nerves, injuries, pain, whiplash, weakness, Houston, Baytown, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Sugarland, Katy, Spring, Pearland, Woodlands, Kingwood

Physicians at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston, have significant experience treating patients who have suffered from motor vehicle injuries and truck accident injuries.  They not only treat patients from the medical aspect, but are very well versed in working with excellent attorneys to help the patients.  The KBNI treats patients in Houston as well as surrounding areas including Katy, Spring, Woodlands, Sugarland, Beaumont, Baytown, Pearland, Conroe, Port Arthur.

Patients suffering from neck pain or lower back pain and have been in a motor vehicle injury or truck injury, or who have been told they may require a spine surgery, can contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at

…….  281-713-6296

…….  Or visit www.SpineHealth.com to SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE

……. KBNI VIDEO on Back and Neck Pain Treatment : Don’t Live in Fear and Pain

 

 

Keywords: spinal nerves, spinal, automobile accidents, accidents, truck accidents, motor vehicle injuries, spinal cord injury, spinal column, paralysis, bowel and bladder, numbness, nerves, injuries, pain, whiplash, weakness, Houston, Baytown, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Sugarland, Katy, Spring, Pearland, Woodlands, Kingwood, Conroe

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What is Disc Degeneration in the Context of the Spine? KBNI Houston, Memorial City, Woodlands, Sugarland, Pearland, Katy, Spring, Conroe, Beaumont, Baytown

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What is Disc Degeneration in the Context of the Spine?

spinal discs, back pain, spinal nerves, physical therapy, degenerative disc disease, disc degeneration

spinal discs, back pain, spinal nerves, physical therapy, degenerative disc disease, disc degeneration

Degenerative disc disease (disc degeneration)  has proven to be a frightening diagnosis for many members of the public. Our spinal discs (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae) are essential for a high quality of life. They cushion the load-bearing stress on the spinal column and along with the facet joints (the joints between our vertebrae) spinal discs help allow for the spinal column’s articulation during routine motion.

Over time, however, the spinal discs naturally degenerate (degenerative disc diseease) , becoming thinner, harder, drier, and less capable of absorbing shock. This means that vertebrae in the spinal column move closer together, placing nearby spinal nerves at a higher risk for compression. Degenerated spinal discs also directly impact a back pain patient’s mobility, given that the discs act somewhat like the shocks and suspension on an automobile a person with compromised discs is going to move more slowly and have a smaller range of motion.

spinal discs, back pain, spinal nerves, physical therapy, degenerative disc disease, disc degeneration

spinal discs, back pain, spinal nerves, physical therapy, degenerative disc disease, disc degeneration

Problems also surface when back pain patients are diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. Patients may be frightened at the condition getting worse to the point of paralysis or greatly decreased mobility. While advanced damage in your spinal discs is indeed cause for concern, there are many steps patients can take to mediate back pain and improve their quality of life as they age. First, don’t give up simply because of your diagnosis. Disc degeneration is a natural process. Degenerative disc disease  (disc degeneration) simply means your degeneration has progressed more quickly than is the norm.

spinal discs, back pain, spinal nerves, physical therapy, degenerative disc disease, disc degeneration, Houston, Memorial City, Woodlands, Sugarland, Pearland, Katy, Spring, Conroe, Beaumont, Baytown

spinal discs, back pain, spinal nerves, physical therapy, degenerative disc disease, disc degeneration, Houston, Memorial City, Woodlands, Sugarland, Pearland, Katy, Spring, Conroe, Beaumont, Baytown

Additionally, there are many steps patients can take at home to make sure they retain an acceptable range of motion and low-to-moderate pain levels. First, consider using over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen to mediate back pain when it reaches acute levels. Pain medication will provide temporary relief and restore mobility by reducing inflammation (anti-inflammatory effects)  along the spinal column (which, in a person with advanced degeneration of their spinal discs, will also help in relieving pressure on spinal nerves). A physical therapy or chiropractic regimen emphasizing core-strengthening exercises is also essential. Strong muscles throughout the torso and along the spinal column will relieve pressure from compromised spinal discs and help reduce the possibility for compressing spinal nerves. Patients also have the advantage of continuing these physical therapy / chiropractic exercises at home for an indefinite period of time, reducing medical costs and helping to maintain their mobility while reducing the possibility of further damage to the spinal discs themselves. Finally, physical therapy is an essential component in a healthy lifestyle that keeps weight at optimum levels, reducing the load-bearing stress on spinal discs and facet joints. Maintaining a healthy weight will further reduce the possibility of additional damage, while an unhealthy weight will increase the potential for nerve damage.

spinal discs, back pain, spinal nerves, physical therapy, degenerative disc disease, disc degeneration, Houston, Memorial City, Woodlands, Sugarland, Pearland, Katy, Spring, Conroe, Beaumont, Baytown

spinal discs, back pain, spinal nerves, physical therapy, degenerative disc disease, disc degeneration, Houston, Memorial City, Woodlands, Sugarland, Pearland, Katy, Spring, Conroe, Beaumont, Baytown

Physicians at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute treat patients with degenerative disc disease (disc degeneration).  The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX  cares for patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Texas Medical Center  (TMC), Tomball and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.  In most cases, non-surgical treatments are available, reserving surgery for those patients in whom conservative treatments do not provide sufficient pain relief.

If you have SUFFERED AN INJURY, you can contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at

…….  281-713-6296

 

…….  Or visit  www.SpineHealth.com  to schedule an appointment online

 

…….  KBNI VIDEO

 

 

Keywords: spinal discs, back pain, spinal nerves, physical therapy, degenerative disc disease, disc degeneration, Houston, Memorial City, Woodlands, Sugarland, Pearland, Katy, Spring, Conroe, Beaumont, Baytown

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Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Spine review by KBNI Houston, Sugarland, Katy, Woodlands, Baytown, Beaumont, Spring, Pearland

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Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Spine

autoimmune disorder, back pain, spinal nerves, rheumatoid arthritis, non steroidal anti-inflammatory, NSAID

autoimmune disorder, back pain, spinal nerves, rheumatoid arthritis, non steroidal anti-inflammatory, NSAID

An autoimmune disorder is any condition which causes your immune system (which normally guards us against invasive pathogens and harmful bacteria) to instead attack healthy, normal tissue. Some common autoimmune disorders include rheumatoid arthritis, in which joints all over the body (including facet joints in the spine) are attacked, causing back pain and inflammation as well as permanent decreases to mobility. Type I diabetes is another example: the body’s ability to produce insulin, a chemical that regulates blood sugar levels, is inhibited by the body’s immune system.

autoimmune disorder, back pain, spinal nerves, rheumatoid arthritis, non steroidal anti-inflammatory, NSAID

autoimmune disorder, back pain, spinal nerves, rheumatoid arthritis, non steroidal anti-inflammatory, NSAID

Within the context of the spinal column, autoimmune disorders can be extremely detrimental to long-term patient mobility and pose a serious threat to general quality of life. Rheumatoid arthritis, as well as other types of arthritis, can inflame the facet joints (the joints that allow for the articulation of the spine), which inhibits even routine movements like sitting, standing, and walking. Rheumatoid arthritis also increases a patient’s risk for compressing nearby spinal nerves and causing extreme back pain. Intertwined with our vertebrae, our spinal nerves are responsible for transferring sensation messages to and from our brain to much of the rest of the body. The severe inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis reduces the available room for spinal nerves to operate unimpeded, increasing the likelihood they will be compressed by nearby vertebrae during routine movement.

autoimmune disorder, back pain, spinal nerves, rheumatoid arthritis, non steroidal anti-inflammatory, NSAID, Houston, Sugarland, Katy, Woodlands, Baytown, Beaumont, Spring

autoimmune disorder, back pain, spinal nerves, rheumatoid arthritis, non steroidal anti-inflammatory, NSAID, Houston, Sugarland, Katy, Woodlands, Baytown, Beaumont, Spring

While many autoimmune disorders cannot presently be cured, doctors are hard at work trying to discover the links that cause our immune systems to compromise their normal function and damage healthy tissue. It is thought that many autoimmune disorders may be closely related via their root trigger mechanism. If an underlying chemical, hormonal, or genetic change can be identified, doctors can use this information to correct the defects in patients’ immune systems, in effect “re-programming” them to recognize native healthy tissue for what it is.

While that day may yet be far in the future, patients still have options available to improve their quality of life. Over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen help reduce inflammation in the spinal column, decreasing the likelihood of compressed spinal nerves and mediating pain levels. Physicians will also generally recommend a physical therapy regimen emphasizing core-strengthening exercises to develop muscles along the spinal column. Strong muscles throughout the torso will help mediate back pain as well as relieving load-bearing stress from compromised spinal discs (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae) as well as decreasing the likelihood of compressing nearby spinal nerves.

autoimmune disorder, back pain, spinal nerves, rheumatoid arthritis, non steroidal anti-inflammatory, NSAID, Houston, Sugarland, Katy, Woodlands, Baytown, Beaumont, Spring

autoimmune disorder, back pain, spinal nerves, rheumatoid arthritis, non steroidal anti-inflammatory, NSAID, Houston, Sugarland, Katy, Woodlands, Baytown, Beaumont, Spring

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX  cares for patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Texas Medical Center  (TMC), Tomball and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin

If you have SUFFERED AN INJURY, you can contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at

…….  281-713-6296

 

…….  Or visit  www.SpineHealth.com  to schedule an appointment online

 

…….  KBNI VIDEO

 

 

Keywords: autoimmune disorder, back pain, spinal nerves, rheumatoid arthritis, non steroidal anti-inflammatory, NSAID, Houston, Sugarland, Katy, Woodlands, Baytown, Beaumont, Spring, Pearland

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How the Spine Develops as We Age review KBNI Houston, Beaumont, Baytown, Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Pearland

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 How the Spine Develops as We Age   

 

 

spinal discs, spinal nerves, back pain, spinal column, Houston

spinal discs, spinal nerves, back pain, spinal column, Houston

The human spinal column is made up of vertebrae, ligaments, muscles, facet joints (the joints that link our vertebrae) and spinal discs (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae). Spinal nerves wind their way around vertebrae and provide sensation to much of the body. All of these components interact to allow for a pain-free normal range of motion during routine movement. Since the spinal column is involved in almost every kind of human motion (sitting, standing, running, bending, lifting, twisting, etc.), pain-free articulation of the spinal column is essential for a high quality of life.

spinal discs, spinal nerves, back pain, spinal column, Houston

spinal discs, spinal nerves, back pain, spinal column, Houston

Though the human body may be an incredible machine, its mechanical components do not escape wear and tear. The cartilage on the ends of our facet joints naturally degrades over time and the wear is exacerbated by repeated heavy lifting or lifting combined with torsional (twisting) motion. This places nearby spinal nerves at a higher risk for nerve compression, which causes extreme back pain and decreased mobility. Since spinal discs naturally degenerate as we get older, becoming harder, less pliable, thinner, and less capable of bearing shock, the spinal nerves have a higher risk of compression, given that as spinal discs shrink, the distance between vertebrae lessens accordingly. Typically this means a smaller range of motion for back pain patients as they grow older.

spinal discs, spinal nerves, back pain, spinal column, Houston, Beaumont, Baytown, Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Pearland, Sealy, Spring, Port Arthur, Conroe, Kingwood, Humble, Tomball, Galveston

spinal discs, spinal nerves, back pain, spinal column, Houston, Beaumont, Baytown, Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Pearland, Sealy, Spring, Port Arthur, Conroe, Kingwood, Humble, Tomball, Galveston

Aging patients also need to account for the possible effects of osteoporosis (low bone density) on the spine. Poor nutrition, smoking (nicotine, a chemical in cigarettes, is toxic to bone-generating cells), and a lack of physical activity can all decrease bone mass. This in turn increases the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures. Fractures are especially dangerous within the spinal column, as shards of collapsed vertebrae or spinal discs may pierce the spinal canal and lacerate spinal nerves, putting the patient at risk for serious long-term health complications. Also, the fractures may occur so slowly that many patients may not notice any sudden changes in their back pain levels.

spinal discs, spinal nerves, back pain, spinal column, Houston, Beaumont, Baytown, Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Pearland, Sealy, Spring, Port Arthur, Conroe, Kingwood, Humble, Tomball, Galveston

spinal discs, spinal nerves, back pain, spinal column, Houston, Beaumont, Baytown, Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Pearland, Sealy, Spring, Port Arthur, Conroe, Kingwood, Humble, Tomball, Galveston

Even with all of these potentially serious problems, however, there are still steps you can take at home to keep your spinal column healthy as you age. Proper weight management will help reduce stress on the facet joints and spinal discs. Healthy dieting and nutritional supplements will help keep bone density at optimal levels. Physical therapy (particularly a regimen full of core-strengthening exercises) and chiropractic treatment by a chiropractor will develop muscles in the torso and along the spinal column. Stronger core muscles lessens the load from compromised spinal discs and helps patients mediate their back pain levels.

Physician experts at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston, TX, have significant experience and expertise in working with patients who are recovering from minor or major spine surgery.  They understand that the beginning of the healing process starts in the OR, but the remainder continues well after the surgery is finished.

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX takes care of patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Texas Medical Center  (TMC), Tomball and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin

If you have SUFFERED AN INJURY, you can contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at

…….  281-713-6296

 

…….  Or visit  www.SpineHealth.com  to schedule an appointment online

 

…….  KBNI VIDEO

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Living with Back Pain: Self-Education review KBNI Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Spring, Katy, Pearland, Kingwood, Humble, Memorial, Conroe, Beaumont

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Living with Back Pain: Self-Education

back pain, low back pain, spinal discs, physical therapy, chiropractic, injury, personal injury,  chiropractor,  pain levels, nerve damage

back pain, low back pain, spinal discs, physical therapy, chiropractic, injury, personal injury, chiropractor, pain levels, nerve damage

Living with Back Pain: Self-Education review KBNI Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Spring, Katy, Pearland, Kingwood, Humble, Memorial, Conroe, Beaumont

Low back pain is one of the most common reasons for missing work in the modern world, yet many still believe its origins are a mystery. Normally, low back pain is caused by a set of very predictable (and unfortunately, all-too-common) conditions. Too much strenuous activity (bending, heavy lifting, twisting, fast or repetitive articulation of the spinal column) accelerates the natural wear on spinal discs as well as the cartilage covering the ends of the facet joints (the joints that allow for articulation of the spinal column). Too much sedentary activity (sitting at an office computer monitor, standing for excessive periods of time) depletes the oxygen supplies of tensed muscles in the back, often leading to painful muscle spasms and an increased chance of compressed spinal nerves. As such, back pain patients need to take steps to educate themselves on how to best maintain the stability and pain-free articulation of their spinal columns as they age.

back pain, low back pain, spinal discs, physical therapy, chiropractic, injury, personal injury,  chiropractor,  pain levels, nerve damage

back pain, low back pain, spinal discs, physical therapy, chiropractic, injury, personal injury, chiropractor, pain levels, nerve damage

Self-education is vital not only to mediating back pain levels, but also for maintaining a high quality of life as you age. Too many people give up on activities (such as physical therapy or yoga) that boost strength and flexibility. As a result, they gradually lose mobility and their pain levels continue to rise during activities that they once found quite manageable. Perhaps the most important tenet of living with back pain is an understanding that regular exercise is essential to mediating pain levels. Core strengthening exercises develop muscles along the spinal column and throughout the torso, lessening the shocks and stresses of everyday movement for compromised spinal discs and facet joints. Stretching is also very important to loosen the muscles, and gently stretch the tendons.

Beyond physical therapy designed to strengthen the core, however, it’s important that back patients understand their own bodies. Know which activities represent a higher risk of back pain and how to avoid them, and prevent back injury. Learn the difference between muscle soreness (such as from a vigorous workout) and sharp back pain resulting from compressed spinal nerves and herniated discs (which, over time, can lead to muscle weakness, loss of sensation, and nerve damage and sciatica ). Communicate honestly and often with your physician regarding your progress in your physical therapy program or chiropractic program. Are certain exercises causing too much (or the wrong kind of) pain? Which exercises seem to be most effective at getting you through your routine? What elements of your lifestyle have you had to change in order to mediate pain levels and how have these changes helped? Giving your doctor all of this information will help in making specific adjustments to your physical therapy regimen or chiropractic regimen in order to give you the best chances of retaining your long-term mobility.

back pain, low back pain, spinal discs, physical therapy, chiropractic, injury, personal injury,  chiropractor,  pain levels, nerve damage, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Spring, Katy, Pearland, Kingwood, Humble, Beaumont, Memorial, Conroe

back pain, low back pain, spinal discs, physical therapy, chiropractic, injury, personal injury, chiropractor, pain levels, nerve damage, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Spring, Katy, Pearland, Kingwood, Humble, Beaumont, Memorial, Conroe

Physician spine experts  at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston have significant expertise treating many patients suffering from low back pain and neck pain, without the need for surgery on the spine.  When surgery is necessary, the latest techniques in minimally invasive surgery of the spine are available.  Neurosurgeon experts will evaluate patients, and review images of the spine, and help the patient to try to get through the pain they are experiencing, and return them to a normal and healthy lifestyle, when possible.

Patients may have suffered a car or truck motor vehicle accident, or been in some other type of motor vehicle accident or other personal injury.  Many patients may recall a specific injury to the spine, which had caused the onset of pain, while others don’t recall any type of injury, but have had a gradual onset of pain.  Some patients may simply have turned the wrong way, or got up out of bed the wrong way.  No matter what the cause of pain is, physician experts at the KBNI will be happy to evaluate any patient experiencing neck pain, low back pain, or pain in the arms or legs.

back pain, low back pain, spinal discs, physical therapy, chiropractic, injury, personal injury,  chiropractor,  pain levels, nerve damage, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Spring, Katy, Pearland, Kingwood, Humble, Beaumont, Memorial, Conroe

back pain, low back pain, spinal discs, physical therapy, chiropractic, injury, personal injury, chiropractor, pain levels, nerve damage, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Spring, Katy, Pearland, Kingwood, Humble, Beaumont, Memorial, Conroe

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX takes care of patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Texas Medical Center  (TMC) and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.

 

 

If you have SUFFERED AN INJURY, you can contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at

…….  281-713-6296

 

…….  Or visit  www.SpineHealth.com  to schedule an appointment online

  

 

…….  KBNI VIDEO

 

 

Keywords: back pain, low back pain, spinal discs, physical therapy, chiropractic, injury, personal injury,  chiropractor,  pain levels, nerve damage, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Spring, Katy, Pearland, Kingwood, Humble, Beaumont, Memorial, Conroe, Sealy, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas

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Dehydration and the Spine review by KBNI Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland, Kingwood, Spring, Conroe, Beaumont, Baytown, Pearland

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Dehydration and the Spine

dehydration, spinal column, spinal disks, back pain, obesity, nutrition, dieting,  back injury prevention, physical therapy, Houston

dehydration, spinal column, spinal disks, back pain, obesity, nutrition, dieting, back injury prevention, physical therapy, Houston

Our spinal column wears naturally over time, gradually degenerating according to age and lifestyle. This means that muscles along the spinal column slowly lose elasticity and mass, while spinal discs (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae) lose pliability and height while becoming harder and less capable of bearing shock. The ends of our facet joints (the joints that link the vertebrae and allow for the articulation of the spinal column) are encased in cartilage which also naturally wears over time. Wear and tear on all of the spinal column’s components is exacerbated by lifestyle choices: obesity (excess weight) , repeated heavy lifting and twisting, overextension, and long periods of sedentary activity.

dehydration, spinal column, spinal disks, back pain, obesity, nutrition, dieting,  back injury prevention, physical therapy, Houston

dehydration, spinal column, spinal disks, back pain, obesity, nutrition, dieting, back injury prevention, physical therapy, Houston

Dehydration also has negative consequences for the spinal column, but many people do not realize its’ risks. A patient in a dehydrated or near-dehydrated state exacerbates the wear on all of his or her joints, including the facet joints in the spinal column. This puts nearby spinal nerves at risk, as dehydrated spinal discs are thinner and vertebrae are physically closer together than they would be otherwise. Incidence of compressed spinal nerves (and corresponding sharp back pain and extremity pain) is higher when dehydrated spinal discs and facet joints are unable to keep nearby vertebrae from impinging on spinal nerves.

A preventive lifestyle can go a long way toward preventing dehydration-related back pain. Proper weight management, regular cardiovascular exercise, healthy dieting (nutrition) , hydration and adequate rest are all pillars of the preventive lifestyle physicians recommend for combating a wide variety of illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. If you live an active lifestyle or engage in physically strenuous activity for work or during recreation, consider supplementing your water with electrolytes.

dehydration, spinal column, spinal disks, back pain, obesity, nutrition, dieting,  back injury prevention, physical therapy, Houston, Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center  (TMC)

dehydration, spinal column, spinal disks, back pain, obesity, nutrition, dieting, back injury prevention, physical therapy, Houston, Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center (TMC)

While proper hydration may help mediate your back pain, it will not likely be cured by hydration alone. You should explore other long-term strategies, such as physical therapy, chiropractic, to mediate pain levels. Physical therapy for the spine performed by a physical therapist, or chiropractic performed by a chiropractor, develops muscles along the spinal column and throughout the torso. These muscles assist degenerated spinal discs and facet joints in managing the body’s weight distribution and can relieve pressure from the body’s joints. Physical therapy also represents a long-term solution for back pain, as it mediates pain levels and helps patients retain their mobility as they age. Before implementing a regimen, however, patients are advised to check with their physicians to verify that the stability of their spinal column is up to the challenge. Doctors will most likely need several checkups (including imaging tests) to determine a course of treatment that’s right for you.

dehydration, spinal column, spinal disks, back pain, obesity, nutrition, dieting,  back injury prevention, physical therapy, Houston, Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center  (TMC)

dehydration, spinal column, spinal disks, back pain, obesity, nutrition, dieting, back injury prevention, physical therapy, Houston, Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center (TMC)

Experts in spine at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) are extremely experienced at treating a large variety of disorders of the spine, which may cause pain in the neck, low back, or the arms or legs.  While non-surgical measures are implemented most of the time, surgery on the spine (including the most advanced minimally invasive spine surgery techniques) are available when needed.

Patients suffering from neck pain or lower back pain, or who have been told they may require a spine surgery, can contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at

…….  281-713-6296

…….  Or visit www.SpineHealth.com to SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE

 

KBNI cares for patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center  (TMC) and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.

 

 

Keywords: dehydration, spinal column, spinal disks, back pain, obesity, nutrition, dieting,  back injury prevention, physical therapy, Houston, Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center  (TMC)

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Reducing Arthritis-related Joint Degeneration review by KBNI Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland, Spring, Tomball, Pearland, Memorial City, TMC, Beaumont

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Reducing Arthritis-related Joint Degeneration

 

back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal column, facet joints, Houston

back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal column, facet joints, Houston

Arthritis encompasses a wide variety of diseases causing swelling, pain, stiffness, and tenderness in the joints. One of arthritis’s most common forms, degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis), wears down the cartilage that covers the ends of our joints, eventually causing bone-on-bone contact. As one might expect, bones rubbing together creates extreme pain and inflammation in the body, leading to restricted mobility. Within the context of the spine, osteoarthritis attacks the cartilage at the ends of our facet joints (the joints that link our vertebrae) causing inflammation and back pain all along the spinal column. Nearby spinal nerves are also at risk, as the inflammation may compress them and further restrict mobility while producing sharp back pain.

back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal column, facet joints, Houston

back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal column, facet joints, Houston

Normally, osteoarthritis occurs as a result of age, though young people may get it from genetic defects within their cartilage, trauma to a joint, or other conditions that deform joints. Obesity also puts people at a higher risk, as well as those who, through their recreational or professional activity, place heavy repetitive stress on their joints.

Though osteoarthritis may have serious cumulative degenerative effects on the spinal column, there are several measures people can take to reduce the damage. Proper weight management and healthy dieting with proper nutrition will lower stresses placed on joints during routine movement. Avoiding foods that produce high amounts of uric acid as the body breaks them down will prevent the resulting crystal deposits from making their way to the joints and worsening back pain. These foods include mushrooms, asparagus, sardines, and dried beans. While dietary changes will not cure osteoarthritis, they can reduce flare-ups.

 

back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal column, facet joints, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Memorial City, Kingwood, Pearland, Spring, Texas Medical Center, Conroe, Beaumont, Port Arthur

back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal column, facet joints, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Memorial City, Kingwood, Pearland, Spring, Texas Medical Center, Conroe, Beaumont, Port Arthur

Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help to relieve extreme back pain and reduce inflammation around the facet joints, allowing patients more mobility and an opportunity to pursue other avenues of treatment. Aerobics, stretching, and light strength training can all be helpful in restoring mobility. These exercises develop muscles around the spinal column, allowing them to assist the facet joints and spinal disks in routine movement.

If your course of treatment for osteoarthritis includes regular physical therapy, your doctor may insist on several additional check-ups to re-evaluate your progress. Imaging tests (magnetic resonance imaging, x-rays) are also used to supplement the doctor’s evaluation of possible damage done to your facet joints. Depending on your lifestyle and occupation, you may need to take measures to ensure that your spine is not placed under continual stress, since even sitting for long periods of time can raise pain levels significantly in patients with osteoarthritis.

 

back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal column, facet joints, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Memorial City, Kingwood, Pearland, Spring, Texas Medical Center, Conroe, Beaumont, Port Arthur

back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal column, facet joints, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Memorial City, Kingwood, Pearland, Spring, Texas Medical Center, Conroe, Beaumont, Port Arthur

Physician experts at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston, TX have great experience in treating patients with arthritis and osteoarthritis resulting in low back pain, neck pain, and pain to other portions of the spine.

 

Patients suffering from neck pain or lower back pain, or who have been told they may require a spine surgery, can contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at

…….  281-713-6296

…….  Or visit www.SpineHealth.com to SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE

……. KBNI VIDEO on Back and Neck Pain Treatment : Don’t Live in Fear and Pain

 

 

Keywords: back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal column, facet joints, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Memorial City, Kingwood, Pearland, Spring, Texas Medical Center, Conroe, Beaumont, Port Arthur

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Spinal Facet Joint Pain presented by KBNI Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland, Galleria, Pearland, Kingwood, Spring, Memorial City, TMC

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SPINAL FACET JOINT PAIN

spinal facet joint pain

spinal facet joint pain

A facet joint is a link between our vertebrae  within our spinal column, and can be the cause of pain within the spine. Regarding spinal anatomy, their ends are covered in cartilage, which allows for the relatively pain-free articulation of the spine during routine motion (sitting, standing, twisting, bending, lifting, walking, etc.). Over time, however, the cartilage covering the facet joints breaks down naturally as we age. Heavy lifting, poor weight management, improper lifting technique, and too much sedentary activity can all accelerate the breakdown of facet joint cartilage, increasing the chances of compressing nearby spinal nerves and causing extremely sharp back pain.  The spinal column can be the source of mechanical pain.

In many cases, imaging tests (x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging) will be necessary to confirm the diagnosis of a facet joint-related spinal  back pain. Your doctor will have to first rule out muscle tears and muscle spasms caused by oxygen-starvation in your back muscles (often occurring as the result of too much time spent in a sitting or standing position, which keeps muscles in the back in a highly tensed state). While a compromised facet joint is certainly a cause for concern, by no means is the problem untreatable. Many patients are able to successfully mediate their pain levels at home, without having to explore the possibility of spinal back surgery.

spinal facet joint pain

spinal facet joint pain

In order to treat back pain caused by degenerating facet joints, most patients effectively mediate their pain levels using over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Pain medication usually restores enough temporary mobility to explore other long-term treatments, such as physical therapy. Patients may use a physical therapy or chiropractor / chiropractic regimen to develop muscles along the spinal column, which in turn will relieve load stress from compromised spinal discs (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae) and facet joints alike. During your physical therapy or chiropractor / chiropractic regimen, several checkups will likely be necessary in order for your physician to accurately gauge your progress and recommend changes to your course of treatment.

If the cartilage has worn to the point where nearby spinal nerves are at risk, back surgery may be necessary to preserve a patient’s long-term health and mobility. Regular spinal nerve compression can lead to muscle weakness, sharp back pain, and eventual nerve damage and loss of sensation in other parts of the body. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible to determine if parts of your spinal discs or facet joints are responsible. If back / spine surgery is needed, your physicians can offer excellent advice on your post-operative care period, including incremental increases in physical therapy to preserve (and in some cases improve) patient mobility.

 facet joint, spinal, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont

facet joint, spinal, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont

Generally, spinal facet joint pain can be diagnosed by having a physician (spine surgeon, neurosurgeon, pain specialist) perform a facet joint block.  This procedure “numbs” the nerves (medial branch of nerves)  traveling to the facet joint.  If the block is successful at relieving the pain, it can be concluded that the pain is coming from the facet joint.  At that point, a more permanent facet joint rhizotomy, in which the nerves to the facet are destroyed (with thermal coagulation, also known as a rhizotomy) , may be of good benefit (after undergoing two trails of a facet joint nerve block).  A fusion of the spine (ALIF, TLIF, XLIF, PLIF, DLIF) can also help with pain coming from the facet joint, as the fusion will immobilize the joint.

Physician experts at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston, TX, have significant experience in diagnosing and treating spinal facet joint pain.  The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX cares for patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center  (TMC) and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.

 facet joint, spinal, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont

facet joint, spinal, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont

Keywords: facet joint, spinal, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble, Conroe, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Memorial City, Galveston, Texas Medical Center (TMC), Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

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Whiplash review by KBNI Houston, Katy, Sugarland, Spring, Woodlands, Baytown, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Tomball

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Contact Us for Help

 

 

 

       Whiplash / Houston

 

 

Each year more than two million Americans experience a whiplash injury (a.k.a. whiplash-associated disorder) to their neck. Numerous studies have shown that the most common cause of whiplash is a 6 to 12 mph rear-end automobile collision where the individual has a sudden, hyper-extension (backward movement) and flexion (forward movement) of the neck. The violent, unexpected motion forces the neuromuscular structure of the cervical region to exceed its normal movement parameters. Collisions at higher speeds have a commensurately higher incidence of severe damage to the cervical spine region.

Whiplash-associated disorder can also be caused by a front-end or side-impact automobile collision, contact sport-related accident, e.g., being struck from behind, diving/swimming pool accident, amusement park ride, or physical abuse (e.g., shaken baby syndrome). The pain the individual feels can be mild to severe and acute (short term) or chronic (long term). It is generally agreed that as many as 40% of patients with acute, whiplash-associated neck pain will develop chronic neck pain.

Soft Tissue Injury

In the majority of cases, the whiplash injury damages the soft tissue of the neck resulting in a sprain or strain of the neck muscles or ligaments. In the past, damage to the soft tissues was nearly impossible to visualize. Even with the aid of various advanced imaging technologies (MRI, CT-scan, standard x-ray with contrast, etc.) visualization remains difficult. There are times when patients will experience soft tissue injury, with pain, yet the imaging studies are completely normal. This means that the key factor in soft tissue diagnosis is the knowledge and experience of the spine specialist.

The symptoms of a soft tissue neck injury include neck pain, arm and hand pain, stiffness, back pain, shoulder pain, ringing in the ears, dizziness, neck-related (cervicogenic) headache, paresthesia (burning, tingling or prickling sensation), or injury to the discs, facet joints of the low back or sacroiliac joints. Some people may also experience cognitive deficits such as memory loss and impaired concentration as well as sleep disorders or psychological conditions, e.g., nervousness, depression or irritability. It is important to keep in mind that while the symptoms of a whiplash-associated disorder usually appear within 24 hours, in some cases the symptoms may not manifest themselves until days or even weeks after the accident.

If a soft-tissue injury is confirmed, there are a number of passive treatment alternatives that may be recommended including bed rest, hot and cold compresses, pain relieving medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants. The decision as to which medication(s) is prescribed will depend on the type and severity of pain being experienced, the individual’s pain tolerance, and their general medical condition. Spine specialists now prefer that the patient pursue their daily activities in as normal a manner as possible. In the past, whiplash patients were advised to wear a cervical collar to limit neck movement. This type of immobilization is no longer considered an effective therapy as prolonged collar wear can cause weakness in the neck muscles.

Most patients with mild to moderate whiplash will have pain relief within a few days to two weeks, with a prognosis of full recovery in 10 to 12 weeks. For those individual’s whose neck pain becomes chronic (more than 12 weeks) or worsens the spine specialist may recommend, in addition to pain medication, some form active intervention including physical medicine, e.g., physical therapy, traction, range of motion exercises, etc. In the rare case of prolonged, debilitating soft-tissue pain the patient may be prescribed anti-inflammatory cortisone injections, opioid analgesics and/or anti-depressants. Surgery is not considered to be a treatment option for a soft-tissue whiplash-associated disorder.

Cervical Spine Injury

The pain symptoms of a cervical spine injury due to whiplash-associated disorder are similar to that of a soft tissue injury. If the spine specialist’s examination and imaging studies reveals damage to the facet joints, intervertebral discs, nerve roots and/or vertebrae of the cervical spine a more aggressive treatment regimen is usually undertaken. This approach may include physical medicine, anti-inflammatory pain medications, injections of cortisone into facet joints, facet joint radiofrequency neurotomy, facet joint laser ablation, therapeutic nerve blocks (steroid plus analgesic), and/or anterior cervical discectomy or laminectomy with fusion.

End Note: Although whiplash injuries occur with ever-greater frequency, the diagnosis of a whiplash-associated disorder is a challenging undertaking. The success of whiplash treatment will be a function of the thoroughness and accuracy of the spine specialist’s diagnosis.

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