Back Pain, Spine Disorders, Causes and Treatments

Degenerative Disc Disease
There is no syndrome of degenerative disc disease. This is just an anatomical condition, in other words, something commonly found on MRIs. The vast majority of degenerative disc disease is not painful. When this is on your MRI report is usually means nothing. Degenerative disc disease is dictated more by your genetics than your lifestyle. This is often surprising to patients who assume that the “wear and tear” seen on their discs is from the “wear and tear” of life. Read more>>

Herniated Disc
In general, herniated discs are found in younger patients. When we are born, our discs are 70 to 80 percent water. As we age, we lose some of this water in a process called desiccation. It is while the discs are at their most water-filled state that we are most vulnerable for herniation of the gel. Read more>>

Piriformis Syndrome
The piriformis syndrome is a commonly diagnosed cause for sciatica. True sciatica can occur in the piriformis syndrome. The idea in piriformis syndrome is that the piriformis muscle is actually compressing or irritating the sciatic nerve. This was originally conceived when anatomists realized that the sciatic nerve is adjacent to, or even goes right through, the piriformis muscle. Read more>>

Spinal Instability and Spondylolisthesis
Often the most difficult to diagnose and certainly the most controversial, the basic concept behind spinal instability is that there is an excess of motion between two spinal segments that results in pain or compromised neurologic function. The controversy in diagnosis arises, because in the majority of cases, the motion is not demonstrated, but only inferred solely by the presence of pain. Read more>>

Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is like prostate hypertrophy or graying of the hair—it’s not a matter of if, but when: if one lives long enough, one will get it. Spinal stenosis is a favorite topic of mine because it epitomizes one my other favorite topics, the distinction between the medicine’s dichotomy of purpose: eradication of a disease and, a very different concept, the promotion of health. Read more>>

Diet Overview for the Back Pain Patient
Will diet help your back pain? The answer to this question is interesting. Every overweight patient with back pain is told by their doctor that their pain will improve with weight loss, but there is scant evidence to support this. In fact, body weight does not appear to be an independent cause of  back pain. Read more>>