Diseases & Conditions
Treating your back and spine conditions starts with access to helpful information. At Los Alamitos Medical Center, we strive to stay up to date on the latest diseases and conditions — and to share that information with you.
Below, we provide information on common back and spine conditions that we may treat.
An annular tear is a break in the tough, outer covering of the joints between vertebrae. When the annular layer is torn, underlying nerves are exposed and painful.
Arthritis of the spine
Arthritis of the spine occurs when the cartilage in the joints and disks of the neck and lower back degenerate. Without this protective cartilage, the tops of the bones become worn down, causing pain.
Bone spurs are extra bony growths that occur on bones. Although these growths are usually smooth, they can cause pain when they compress bones, tissues and nerves.
A bulging disk occurs when a disk that provides cushioning between vertebrae extends beyond the space it normally occupies. Bulging disks usually are not painful and are a normal part of the aging process.
Canal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows due to age-associated changes, such as vertebrae becoming misaligned. Since the nerves become compressed and irritated, canal stenosis can cause pain, numbness and weakness below the waist.
Cervical Spondylosis is chronic and excessive wear on the cartilage and bones of the neck. It frequently causes chronic neck pain.
A collapsed disk can occur when dehydration and age-related changes cause a disk between vertebrae to shrink. It is a painful condition and can increase susceptibility to disk herniation or rupture.
Degenerative disk disease (degenerative spine)
Degenerative disk disease is not a specific disease. It encompasses a wide range of conditions in which a damaged disk causes pain.
Degenerative joint disease
Degenerative joint disease, more commonly known as osteoarthritis, occurs when joint cartilage breaks down. Primarily a disease of middle-aged and older adults, degenerative joint disease can cause joint pain, stiffness and grinding.
Facet disease (facet syndrome)
Facet disease occurs when the joints that connect the spinal bones become swollen and painful due to injury or arthritis. Since nerve roots that connect the arms, legs and neck to the spinal cord travel through these joints, facet disease can cause widespread pain and difficulty with movement.
Foraminal stenosis (foraminal narrowing)
Foraminal stenosis occurs when the foramina, or large central openings of each spinal bone, become narrowed due to arthritis and other age-related conditions. Foraminal stenosis can lead to numbness, weakness and pain in the arms or legs.
Herniated disk (disk extrusion, disk protrusion, ruptured disk, torn disk)
A herniated disk occurs when the outer layer of a vertebral disk is broken, resulting in a leak of fluid. Symptoms vary and range from pain, numbness and weakness in a leg or arm to no symptoms at all.
Myofascial pain syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic condition in which placing pressure on sensitive muscular trigger points causes pain in other areas of the body. It often is the result of repetitive motion strain.
Neuropathic pain occurs when damaged or improperly functioning nerves send false signals to the brain. Phantom limb pain is a type of neuropathic pain.
Peripheral neuralgia is a condition in which the nerves that transmit information between the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the rest of the body are damaged. Symptoms can range from tingling and numbness to muscle weakness.
A pinched nerve occurs when surrounding bones, muscles or cartilage place excessive pressure on a nerve. The resulting nerve dysfunction causes pain, numbness, tingling and weakness.
A prolapsed disk occurs when one of the disks located between the vertebrae is damaged. The pressure this damaged disk places on nearby nerves causes numbness, tingling, weakness and pain in the back, neck and other areas of the body.
Radiculopathy (lumbar, cervical)
Radiculopathy is pain, numbness, tingling and weakness along a spinal nerve. It is most common in the lower back and the neck.
Sciatica is pain that radiates along the course of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to the bottom of each leg. Sciatica pain typically occurs on one side of the body.
Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves to the side.
SI joint pain
Sacroiliac joint pain occurs where the base of the spine joins the pelvis. It usually only occurs on one side, is exacerbated by bending over or standing after sitting for a long time and is relieved by lying down.
A prolapsed disk occurs when one of the disks that are located between the vertebrae is damaged. The pressure this damaged disk places on nearby nerves causes numbness, tingling, weakness and pain in the back, neck and other areas of the body.
Spinal stenosis (spinal narrowing)
Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces in the spine narrow and cause excess pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots.
Spondylitis occurs when the vertebrae, or bones that comprise the spinal column, are inflamed. This can cause joints to become fused together — making movement difficult or impossible.
Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebra, or spinal bone, moves out of position and lands on the vertebrae below it. This condition typically affects the lower back and can become painful.
Spondylosis means age-related changes to the vertebrae, cartilage and disks. It can occur in the neck, mid or low back.
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