Low back pain (LBP), is one of the most frequent problems treated by spine physicians. Four out of five adults will experience LBP during their life. There are 24 vertebrae in three segments of your spinal column. The cervical spine has 7 vertebrae, the thoracic spine has 12 vertebrae and the lumbar spine is made up of five vertebrae. The spinal column is held in alignment by ligaments, cartilage and muscles that surround and protect the spinal cord. Between each vertebrae are spongy discs which act as cushioning pads to absorb pressure and allow spine movement.
Lower back pain can be caused by a number of factors which include:
-Low back strain or sprain- This occurs when the muscles of the back becomes overworked or stretched. Sudden, forceful movement can injure ligaments which can become stiff or weak.
-Fractures- vertebrae can be crushed or compressed as a result of a fall from a high place, or an accident. Vertebrae can also be chipped or nicked by forceful injuries.
-Protruding disc- The discs are made up of two main parts, the nucleus and the annulus. The annulus surrounds the nucleus to protect it. Injury to the annulus can cause it to tear thereby allowing the nucleus to protrude through the nucleus. This protrusion can impinge on the spinal cord causing severe radiating pain down the legs.
-Surgical Errors- The surgeon performing a back surgery might insert the hardware incorrectly, cut the spinal cord, or otherwise fail to perform the operation or postoperative care according to the appropriate standard of care.
The orthopedic evaluation generally consists of four components: the medical history, the physical examination, diagnostic testing, treatment discussion (which may include surgery). During the medical history the physician gathers information about your past medical history and any particular mechanism of injury which may have caused your injury. He then examines you to determine strength, alignment and motion of your back.
Next, diagnostic tests like x-rays, an MRI or a CAT scan may be ordered. The MRI and CAT scan will be helpful in determining whether a herniated, or protruding disc is present and whether it is impinging on the spinal cord. If it is, surgery may be in order.
If you or someone you know has suffered a back injury because of an accident or surgical error, call The Cochran Firm - Metairie toll free at 1-866-599-0022 for a free consultation.