What are the signs of spine problems?

Spine symptoms are among the most common complaints of adult patients in the United States, especially with the onset of middle and advancing age. Most spine complaints have to do with pain that ranges from dull, constant aching to sudden shooting or sharp pains. Stiffness in any part of the spine is another common complaint. Pain and stiffness may worsen with inactivity, while some forms of pain increase with activity, depending on the disorder or injury.

Back Problems Spotlight

Other symptoms are related more to misalignment than to discomfort, as in a forward bending or side-to-side misalignment associated with some congenital or degenerative disorders. Spinal symptoms may come from disorders of the vertebrae, the discs between vertebrae, or may originate from compression of the nerves in or exiting the spinal cord. Spinal disorders may be genetic, degenerative (due to natural wear and tear), or caused by other primary bone disorders or, in rare cases, tumors.

The most common spine symptoms include back and neck pain with or without stiffness; hip pain or sciatica; muscle spasms or weakness; and shoulder, knee or ankle pain and swelling.

Most spine symptoms are not life threatening. However, seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms of nerve compression, such as loss of sensation in the limbs or shoulders; a complete loss of balance; high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit); or loss of bladder or bowel control, especially in combination with weakness in your legs. Also seek immediate care if you have pronounced weakness in the arms or legs, abnormal sensations in the limbs or shoulders, impaired balance and coordination, or weakness (loss of strength). Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for a spinal condition but mild symptoms recur or are persistent. If your spine symptoms are persistent or cause you concern, seek prompt medical care.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with spine symptoms?

Spine symptoms may accompany other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition Symptoms that frequently affect the spine may also involve other body systems.... Read more about spine symptomssymptoms

CAUSES

What causes spine symptoms?

Major causes of spine symptoms include mechanical and other injuries, congenital and acquired disorders, infections, or tumors.... Read more about spine symptomscauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles


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