Spine General (involves multiple spine areas)

Bracing After Spine Surgery: Is It Really Needed?

Spine surgeons (both orthopedic and neurosurgeons) often use bracing for their patients after fusion of the neck or low back. But with today's evidence-based practice, there's been a question about this practice. Is it really needed? Is there any evidence to support external immobilization of this type? Or is it just a matter of doing what we've always done because we've always done it?




Recalls on Donor Bone Tissue

You've probably heard about the recent recalls on baby food, pet food, and peanut butter. But have you ever heard of a recall on allograft (donated) bone? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report almost 60,000 allograft tissue samples were recalled over the last 15 years. All of those were musculoskeletal tissue specimens.




My brother had a car accident and broke his nose from the air bag hitting him in the face. I'd like to have the air bags in my car disabled. How do I go about having this done?

Safety experts suggest that a broken nose is a small injury compared to the spinal fractures that can occur without the air bags. And since motor vehicle crashes are the most common cause of spinal injury in the United States, disabling air bags is not advised.




Clinical Guideline for Antibiotic Prophylaxis Effective Tool for Surgeons

Guidelines regarding the use of prophylactic antibiotics (antibiotics given to avoid an infection rather than to treat one) in spinal surgery help spinal surgeons in using the antibiotics for the best outcomes possible. The authors of this article discuss how the guidelines came to be and graded the recommendations to show how effective the guidelines are.




Patterns of Spine Fracture From Car Accidents

You would think that the increased safety measures in motor vehicles these days would mean fewer injuries after accidents. But, in fact, the number of spine fractures has actually gone up. With the use of both a seat belt and an air bag, it seems like the opposite should be true. Why is that?




I went with my sister to the hospital after we had a bad car accident together. I don't know why, but it was clear to me that she wasn't telling everything she knew. For instance, they asked if she had ever been treated for neck or back pain before. She said no even though I know she is currently seeing a chiropractor and a physical therapist. Why don't people tell the truth about these things?

An accurate patient history after motor vehicle accidents is important when planning the best and most appropriate treatment. Anyone with a prior history of neck or back pain may need a different approach. Social research confirms that anyone with a psychologic profile, history of alcohol or other drug use, or mental illness will likely need special attention.




Our 22-year old son was just diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. We've been told this runs in families. Should everyone else be tested? What's the next step?

Talk with the physician who made the diagnosis. There is a familial risk for ankylosing spondylitis meaning it does have a hereditary component and seems to occur within families. Studies show there are both genetic and environmental factors. About 65 per cent of the cases have a genetic basis. The physician can assess the risk of AS and related diseases in the family and make recommendations.




I've had back and sacroiliac joint pain off and on for the last six months. The doctors finally diagnosed it as ankylosing spondylitis. They want to do MRIs to see what's going on in the low back area. What do MRIs show that you can't see on an X-ray?

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic, painful, inflammatory arthritis that mainly affects the spine and sacroiliac joints (SIJs). It eventually causes the sacroiliac joints and spine to fuse.

X-rays show changes in the bones and joints but not until the disease has progresses. It can be up to 10 years after the start of the disease that changes are seen on the X-ray. By that time, it may be too late to change the pattern.




How many vertebrae are in the spine?

Humans are born with more vertebrae than they end up with later in life. Infants have 33, but some fuse together throughout childhood, leaving adults with 24. Some adults do have an extra vertebrae for a total of 25. The back is divided into the cervical spine (seven vertebrae), thoracic spine (12 vertebrae), lumbar spine (five vertebrae).

John R. Dimar II, MD, et al. Identification and Surgical Treatment of Primary Thoracic Spinal Stenosis. In The American Journal of Orthopedics.




You hear a lot about people hurting their upper back and their lower back. How come we don't hear as much about the middle part of the back?

The spine is divided into several sections: the neck and uppermost part is the cervical spine, the mid-back is the thoracic spine, the lower back is the lumbar spine, and the bottom part is the sacral area.




Back to top

MySpace Tracker