Back Pain – Is it all in Your Genes?

genes and painA presentation at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 66th Annual Meeting could change the way physicians view patients for whom typical doses of pain medications aren’t effective. The presentation described results of a study that found a genetic component to pain perception, meaning that the way we perceive pain may be inherited from our parents, and not just through social conditioning. Continue reading “Back Pain – Is it all in Your Genes?” »

Spinal Stenosis and Dizziness

vertigo dizziness spinal stenosisThere are many possible causes of dizziness, including spinal stenosis, so what else should you be looking for if you suspect a spine problem is at the root of your symptoms? Continue reading “Spinal Stenosis and Dizziness” »

Back Pain – Why Fear of Pain (not the pain itself) May be Holding You Back at Work

back pain at work

If work is demanding make some demands of your own!

Start off the new year with a resolution to not let yourself be limited by your back pain. If you found yourself saying no to lots of exciting work opportunities these last twelve months because of back pain then it could be that fear-avoidance is your biggest issue, not the pain itself. Of course, back pain from spinal stenosis and other conditions can place limits on activity but sometimes arbitrary restrictions actually sabotage health and happiness further. Continue reading “Back Pain – Why Fear of Pain (not the pain itself) May be Holding You Back at Work” »


Back Pain and Cancer (Part Two)

back pain is it cancerIn our last blog post we looked at how pancreatic cancer and back pain from spinal stenosis may cause confusion during diagnosis. This time around we’re looking at the other types of cancer that may trigger back pain, helping you spot signs of trouble early on so that you have a better chance of beating cancer. Continue reading “Back Pain and Cancer (Part Two)” »


Epidural Steroid Injections Increase Spinal Fracture Risk

epidural steroid injections and spinal fracture riskEpidural injections for back pain may increase the risk of spinal fracture according to a new analysis of over fifty thousand patients. Just one lumbar epidural steroid injection used for lower back pain from conditions such as spinal stenosis increased the likelihood of spinal fracture by more than a fifth (21%), providing the first hard evidence of what has long been suspected by physicians and orthopedic surgeons: epidural steroids weaken the bones. Continue reading “Epidural Steroid Injections Increase Spinal Fracture Risk” »

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Degenerative Disc Disease Causes

Degenerative disc disease causesWhat causes degenerative disc disease (DDD) can be difficult to pinpoint, as most of the degenerative changes that take place in the spine are interrelated. However, DDD is most commonly defined by an accelerated version of the natural, age-related wear and tear of the intervertebral discs, which, when healthy, act as water-saturated shock-absorbers for the spine.

Over time, discs can lose their water content, become brittle, lose height, and become more susceptible to bulging or herniating. Disc wear and tear is particularly likely to develop in the lumbar spine (lower back), as this area is responsible for bearing the weight of the body and supporting a wide range of movements. Cervical degenerative disc disease is also quite common as the neck is particularly mobile and so many twists and turns can cause damage to the intervertebral discs.

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How Degenerative Disc Disease and Spinal Stenosis are Related

Degenerative disc diseaseThere are many different terms for spine conditions, from degenerative disc disease and sciatica to spondylolisthesis and more. Pronouncing the terms can be difficult enough, let alone understanding how a specific condition could affect your neck or back. The thing to keep in mind is that, in general, most spine conditions are related to each other in some way because the development of these conditions has a cascading effect. For example, one anatomical change in the spine – which usually occurs as a result of age-related degeneration – often leads to another anatomical change. To better understand how some spine conditions are interrelated in this way, it can be helpful to briefly review the spinal anatomy.

Continue reading “How Degenerative Disc Disease and Spinal Stenosis are Related” »

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How to Identify Symptoms of Canal Stenosis

Canal stenosisIt can be difficult to diagnose spine conditions like canal stenosis because the symptoms associated with this and the several other common degenerative neck and back conditions can be similar. Just because you’re feeling pain in your lower back, buttocks, and upper leg won’t necessarily mean your physician will be able to pinpoint the exact cause of your pain as spinal canal stenosis without first running an array of tests. Continue reading “How to Identify Symptoms of Canal Stenosis” »


Symptoms of Cervical Stenosis from Kyphosis

cervical kyphosis and spinal stenosis

Whiplash and sports injuries can trigger cervical kyphosis and spinal stenosis symptoms.

Cervical spinal stenosis can be a result of kyphosis in the neck, but what is kyphosis? This peculiar term simply describes a c-shaped spinal curve where the opening of that ‘c’ is at the front of the body. In contrast to kyphosis, lordosis means a c-shaped curve with the opening at the back. The spine naturally has both types of curves but problems arise when this curvature becomes too extreme or where a kyphotic curve or lordotic curve arises in the wrong place. This can cause lumbar spinal stenosis, or stenosis in the cervical or thoracic spinal regions, creating symptoms connected to pinched nerves. Continue reading “Symptoms of Cervical Stenosis from Kyphosis” »

Prescription Painkiller Overdoses A Growing Problem

prescription painkiller overdoses and back painA CNN documentary aired late last year reported that someone in the US dies every 19 minutes from a drug overdose, with the majority of those deaths due to accidental overdose on legal and prescribed drugs such as the painkillers used by millions of spinal stenosis patients daily. These overdoses accunt for more deaths than do heroin, crack cocaine, and methamphetamines combined and accidental prescription overdoses kill more Americans each year than car crashes. With almost half a million emergency room visits each year in the US due to precription painkiller misuse, what is being done to stop these preventable fatalities? Continue reading “Prescription Painkiller Overdoses A Growing Problem” »