All You Need To Know About Common Spine Problems

icon-blog By -Dr. Kanika Sharma
icon-blog By -January 31, 2024
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All You Need To Know About Common Spine Problems

Do you appreciate your ability to stand or sit in an upright position? Give credit to your spine, a series of small bones known as vertebrae located along the central axis of your back, extending from your tailbone to your neck. This structure provides support for your head, shoulders, and upper body, while also serving a crucial function by creating a passage for your spinal cord which is a network of nerves connecting your brain to various parts of your body.

Spinal conditions frequently lead to back pain and discomfort when alterations in bone structure exert pressure on the spinal cord or nerves, potentially restricting movement. Globally, there have been significant advancements in the prevention, diagnosis, and comprehensive management of diverse spinal ailments. This is essential because spinal disorders represent a serious threat to humankind. For instance, lower back pain ranks among the top 10 causes of the highest number of disability-adjusted life years lost worldwide. Additionally, it stands as a primary cause of disability and work absenteeism, contributing significantly to the economic burden on communities. Moreover, spinal cord injuries (SCI) are deemed one of the most devastating afflictions to impact humankind.

Addressing these challenges becomes even more complex in resource-limited nations like India. Spine disorders (SD) and the associated pain constitute a substantial medical, social, and economic issue due to their high prevalence and the escalating number of patients with spinal problems in the general population. The time lapse between initial symptoms, diagnosis of spinal disorder, and the commencement of treatment poses a significant concern, potentially impacting treatment outcomes adversely. Furthermore, the absence of effective preventive measures adds to the incidence of SDs. Socially and economically, these disorders bring about a number of negative consequences, with individuals experiencing back problems often exiting the workplaces temporarily or permanently. This has adverse effects on their family life as well as their socio-economic standing.

In the field of preventive medicine for spine disorders, there have been noteworthy developments as well. Increased community awareness regarding lower back pain has led to the integration of ergonomic furniture designs in offices, reduced loads in school children's backpacks, the inclusion of posture correction and exercises in daily routines, and the promotion of back injury prevention in heavy lifting, both in gyms and competitive sports.

However, knowing spinal problems better may help to prevent or manage these problems earlier which inturn can lead to better and early recovery. The following article will provide you insights to commonly occurring spine problems.

List of Common Spine Problems

1. Muscle Strain

The muscles surrounding your spine may become strained and tense due to overuse, stress, and incorrect posture or positions. This may result in back and neck pain as well as tightness. Exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are two ways to strengthen your back muscles. Pre-exercise stretching can also help prevent straining of the muscles.

2. Herniated Disc

Vertebrae are the bones that make up the spine. Between each bone, discs serve as cushions. A herniated disc indicates that the cushioning has moved and is protruding from the outer layer of the disc. Although some herniated discs cause no symptoms, they frequently cause problems for the spine's nerves. Many symptoms may result from this, such as: 

  • Pain and discomfort in back
  • Pain in extremities
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness in muscles

Although they can occur in the upper back as well, lower back herniated discs occur more frequently. If you're in pain or experiencing any of the other symptoms we've listed, you should visit a doctor. By exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and maintaining proper posture throughout the day, you can reduce your risk of developing a herniation of discs.

3. Scoliosis

One of the disorders that can cause your spine to twist abnormally is scoliosis. The most prevalent kind causes sideways bending of the spine in children during their growth spurt prior to puberty. Your child may have uneven shoulders or one shoulder blade that protrudes more than the other if they have scoliosis. Nobody is aware of the cause of this. A brace may help stop scoliosis from getting worse and causing issues, as well as reduce the need for surgery to correct it. Following signs may indicate scoliosis:

  • Uneven make of shoulders
  • Variations in rib cage height
  • Elevated hips
  • Leaning the body to one side
  • Malalignment of head and hips

4. Osteoporosis

One of the most prevalent spine conditions affecting older adults is osteoporosis which is characterized by bone weakening due to poor bone density. Fractures, collapsed vertebrae, and a hunched posture can result from weakening and damaged spine bones.

Since there aren't many symptoms until the bones are already osteoporotic, it can be challenging to detect that your bones are weakening. By eating a balanced diet on your health full of foods high in calcium and vitamin D to support the synthesis of stronger bones, you can attempt to prevent this. Exercises that help with balance, posture, and bone health include weightlifting, running, and walking.

5. Whiplash

Whiplash is a type of neck injury brought on by an abrupt head movement or jerk. The muscles in the neck may be strained by this abrupt and awkward neck movement. Additionally, it can harm the neck's ligaments, discs, and intervertebral joints. Many people experience trauma or an event and don't immediately experience symptoms. Whiplash symptoms can take up to 24 hours to manifest. These symptoms include:

  • Pain in neck
  • Stiffness in neck
  • Headache
  • Pain Lower back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty in concentrating

In the first 24 hours following an injury, icing can be beneficial. Additional therapeutic approaches comprise massage, physical therapy, and the use of heating pads.

6. Sciatica

The sciatic nerve travels down your leg from your lower back. Sciatica is a disorder in which damage to the sciatic nerve causes lower back pain, numbness, or weakness that travels down your leg. A herniated disc, a bone spur, or a narrowing spine that compresses the nerve could all be the cause of this nerve damage.

You may alleviate your sciatica pain with the help of a chiropractor, physical therapy, and steroid injections. To treat the symptoms, doctors may also prescribe muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories, and painkillers.

7. Spinal Myelopathy

When the spinal cord is injured due to degeneration, it is known as spinal myelopathy. In layman's terms, that means that as you age, the constituent parts of your spine and back weaken and change, potentially resulting in spinal damage. A loss of balance, tingling, muscle weakness, numbness in the hands and feet, and pain may result from this. The development and exacerbation of symptoms can be stopped with surgical intervention.

8. Compression Fracture

The vertebrae may develop different cracks and hairline fractures as people age and their bones weaken. In case your spine has numerous cracks, it may lead to a compression fracture, which is also known as a collapsed vertebra.

Osteoporosis is the primary cause of this, but other risk factors include smoking, having bone cancer, being extremely thin, and being a woman over 50. Painkillers can be used to help manage the excruciating pain associated with fractures. Another typical course of treatment is physical therapy.

9. Osteoarthritis

The smooth tissue at the ends of your vertebrae allows your back to flex without creating friction. Your back pain or stiffness can result from the vertebrae rubbing against each other if the cartilage becomes rough or wears down. Back osteoarthritis affects women more frequently than men, and it usually worsens with time. It cannot be reversed by your doctor. Exercise, physical therapy, and painkillers, however, help lessen the symptoms.

10. Spondylolisthesis

Within the spine, specific positions are maintained for each vertebra. When a spinal vertebra slips forward and over the vertebra below it, the condition is known as spondylolisthesis. Spinal cord squeezing or damaging can result in excruciating pain. Along with other symptoms, it can make it harder for you to walk and cause you to lose bladder control. In most cases, physical therapy, weight loss, pain medication, and core strengthening exercises are recommended to alleviate symptoms. However, in severe cases, surgery may be necessary.


Back pain is a symptom associated with various spinal conditions that may render a person unable to move for days, weeks, or even years. Hopefully, this list of the commonly occurring 10 spine problems will help you better understand any back pain you may be feeling. Hopefully, a spine condition has no noticeable effects on you. If you sense something is abnormal in your back or any other part of your body, pay attention. If you suddenly can't hold your poop or urine, or if your arms or legs feel weak or numb, reach out for medical help immediately. Consult your doctor if you have ever experienced cancer or if you are experiencing pain that is not related to exertion, does not go away, becomes worse at night, or doesn't go away.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the most common spine condition?

One of the most prevalent spine conditions affecting older adults is osteoporosis which is characterized by bone weakening due to poor bone density. Fractures, collapsed vertebrae, and a hunched posture can result from weakening and damaged spine bones.

How can I make my spine stronger?

Physical therapies, regular exercises, and a nutrition rich diet can make your spine stronger.  

How do I know if my spine is not healthy?

When walking or standing up, a person with a misaligned spine may place more weight on one leg. This movement may apply additional strain to one knee, resulting in pain and a reduction in the range of motion of the affected knee. Wearing out one shoe more quickly than the other could also indicate a misaligned spine.

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