5 Signs That Your Spine Needs Your Attention – The spine is a vital body part that people often overlook. Being a part of the central nervous system is one reason you should take care of your spine very seriously. This article discusses the symptoms of spine health problems that you should not ignore.
Pain is a general indication that your body is experiencing an abnormality, may it be an injury or an infection. Severe pain in the lower back could be a sign of a spinal injury. Almost everyone experiences back pains at some point in their life, especially when they do not get enough exercise. Usually, back pains heal on their own.
However, start suspecting that something is wrong when the extreme pain lasts for more than three days. More so if another symptom, like bladder control problems, weakening of legs, or fever, accompanies it. The underlying cause of lower back pain is either due to lifestyle or internal health conditions.
Lifestyle causes of back pains include being overweight, carrying heavy objects, and spending much time sitting or doing nothing. However, pains that develop through time could indicate chronic spine problems.
One of which is the presence of herniated disks. In this situation, the damaged gel-like disks cushioning the spine’s vertebrae put pressure on the spine, thus causing the pain. Spinal stenosis or the narrowing of the space around the spinal cord can also be responsible for such pain. Lower back pain can also be the first sign of scoliosis, wherein the spine abnormally curves sideways.
Paralysis is a primary symptom of nervous system impairment, whether because of a stroke, nerve damage, or spinal cord injury. The brain, the spine, and the nerves interconnect with one another. A fracture or injury in the spine can disrupt the relay of signals from the brain to the nerves. The muscles that allow you to move cannot accept the commands that the nerves transport from the brain.
That’s how you lose control of your muscles, which is also known as being paralyzed.
A defect called spina bifida causes an infant to have in-born paralysis. In this case, the brain, spine, and protective cover form abnormally. Paralysis often results from an accident or a medical condition, such as multiple sclerosis. The root cause is unknown for this condition. But it may involve an attack that your immune system makes against your body tissues.
Numbness correlates with paralysis. By definition, paralysis is the loss of control over your body muscles. Numbness, on the other hand, is the loss of sensation. Typically, you can feel numbness before paralysis. Spinal stenosis, both the cervical and the lumbar, hold numbness as a symptom. If the stenosis is in your cervical spine, you will feel symmetrical numbness in your arms and legs.
Cervical stenosis occurs when the neck area of your spine is narrow. Lumbar stenosis happens when the narrowing of the spinal canal is in the lower part of your back. Spinal stenosis can be an indication of other underlying conditions, including osteoarthritis and spinal tumor.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage cushioning the end of the bones wears down, allowing the joints to rub one another. Ache often accompanies this “rubbing” of the joints. However, as opposed to pain, you might also experience numbness in your fingers if you have hand osteoarthritis. Spinal tumors can also cause your arms and legs to feel numb.
Try standing straight in front of the mirror. If you notice that your shoulders are uneven, it could signify spine health problems. Having uneven shoulders means that one shoulder is higher than the other even when you’re in a relaxed stance. And that is one of the readily noticed signs of scoliosis. The curvature formed in a scoliotic patient’s spine causes the body to align incorrectly.
Scoliosis can result from dominantly using the same side of your arm in using force and carrying heavy stuff. Additionally, unbalanced shoulders can also form from structural or skeletal imbalances, such as uneven legs.
With regards to uneven legs, the condition can either be a cause or a symptom of scoliosis. It’s a symptom when unevenness develops after the onset of scoliosis. A curved spine prompts the pelvis to become uneven, thus slightly raising one leg. Because of this, the legs appear to be of different lengths. Doctors call this Functional Leg Length Discrepancy or FLLD.
Reversibly, the leg length discrepancy becomes a cause of scoliosis when the structural lengths of the legs are unequal. Anatomical Leg Length Discrepancy or ALLD is the medical term for this case. Because of the discrepancy in leg length, the hips tend to tilt. And to compensate for this, the spine adjusts and curves, thus forming “compensatory scoliosis.”
Whether it is FLLD or ALLD, uneven legs are likely to be signs of scoliosis.
Another visible symptom of a spinal health issue is a hunched or stooped posture. One condition that has this symptom is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a silent disease since it cannot be detected readily. However, observable symptoms like the “dowager’s hump” or the curving of the top of the spine can still occur.
This hump is not osteoporosis itself. Kyphosis is the correct term for it. Unlike in scoliosis, in which the spine curves sideways, kyphosis bends your spine forward.
The hunched back is just one symptom of osteoporosis, which results from the low bone density that increases fracture risks. Not having a stooped posture does not necessarily mean that you don’t have osteoporosis.
Again, kyphosis is just one visible symptom. You may not discover that you have osteoporosis until your bones become too fragile. When the bones become chronically weak, a sudden fall or bump might already cause fractures.
If you’re experiencing those mentioned signs, you should consult your doctor and get your spine checked. But as the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, do not wait until you start feeling these symptoms before deciding to take care of your spine. To do this, you need to have regular exercise and maintain a proper posture every time.
Remember that the spine is also called the backbone, which could also mean pillar. Don’t let your body’s pillar get torn down.