There’s very few people who ignore how important their spine is to their body.
Without proper spinal alignment, people can struggle with movement, or even with staying still. While people recognize how important the spine is, spinal health is sometimes taken for granted. The truth is there is a wide variety of problems that can occur with a person’s spine. Some of these begin very early in life. Others can be the result of trauma, injury or simply aging.
Since there are so many things that can cause damage or deformity to the spine, it’s good to know what the potential risks are. Educating yourself about potential spine conditions can go a long way to being prepared in the event of a spinal injury or deformity.
How the Spine Works
The spine is crucial to the body in multiple ways. The nerves that run through the spine are responsible for transmitting the information from the brain to muscles around the body. They also return information to the brain when you use your senses. Feelings of touch, and temperature are returned through the spinal nerves.
The spine is also responsible for keeping the body’s shape. It is the axis that the musculoskeletal system is really built on. Spines give the human body our trademark shape throughout the torso. The spine is made up of bones known as vertebrae. These vertebrae are connected through discs and ligaments. Just one part of the system being damaged can result in a major failure of the spine.
Spinal Injuries and Trauma
Quite simply the spine can be injured like any other bone in the body. People often refer to a damaged spine as a “broken back”. Injury and trauma to the spine can be especially debilitating due to the responsibility the spine has for protecting nerves down to the lower body. Many people who suffer injuries and trauma may find difficult walking again.
There is some great news about spinal injuries however. This area is one in which research has been very promising. More treatments are being developed each year to assist those who have suffered severe spinal trauma and injury. The hope is that in the future, no one will have to be paralyzed due to a spinal issue.
Conditions That Cause Spinal Deformity
The shape of the spine should be relatively similar in everyone. It is intended to be mostly straight with two curves. The first curve is by the neck, with the second one occurring in the lower back. There are a large number of spinal deformities that can happen.
- Kyphosis - This causes a hunch in the back due to abnormal curvature in the spine near the lower back. It can be caused by many different things including persistent bad posture.
- Ankylosing Spondylitis - Some people also refer to this condition as spinal arthritis. People with ankylosing spondylitis suffer from troublesome inflammation in the vertebrae.
- Rickets - This disease tends to occur in children that have vitamin D deficiency. The bones become very weak and soft. The spine won’t grow properly and can be deformed.
- Scoliosis - Another very common spinal disease, scoliosis tends to result in a spine with incorrect curvature. Scoliosis is broken up into types by age group. There are also congenital and neurological scoliosis in which a cause can be identified.
- Osteoporosis - This is often known as hollow bone disease in which bone becomes excessively honeycombed. This is dangerous for the spine as it can often lead to potential compression fractures.