Educate Yourself!

At Southeastern Spine Center, we philosophically believe that education is an integral part of the plan of care for our patients. Understanding their condition and treatment options is key for patients to make an informed decision for their road to recovery. Below is some basic information about commonly treated conditions. You may also view our Helpful Links page for additional resources.

back hurt

Osteoarthritis: Arthritis is the gradual wear and tear of the cushioning tissues that line the joints. When arthritis affects the spine, vertebrae rub together, causing pain, stiffness, swelling and loss of motion. Weakness or numbness of the arms or legs can also result. When arthritis is severe and left untreated, it can result in spinal deformity.

Sciatica: Sciatica is the term given to pain down the leg, which is caused by irritation of the main nerve into the leg, the sciatic nerve. The most common cause of true sciatica is a “slipped disc”. The discs (or inter-vertebral discs) are the cushions which separate the bones of the spine (vertebrae). Sciatica occurs when the herniated disc presses against the nerves which go to make up the sciatic nerve.

Muscle Strain: A low back strain, often called a lumbar strain is an injury to the large muscles in the low back. These injuries are very common, affecting most everyone at some point in their life. Low back strains can be painful and debilitating. When the lumbar spine is strained or sprained, inflammation of the soft-tissues results.

This inflammation causes pain and can cause muscle spasm. People are often surprised at how painful and debilitating a lumbar strain or sprain can be–these are not small injuries. They often force patients to remain in bed for a day or two, and can cause intermittent symptoms for weeks. That said, over 90% of patients are completely recovered from an episode of lumbar muscle strain or sprain within one month.

Scoliosis: When there are abnormal side-to-side (lateral) curves in the spinal column, we refer to this as scoliosis.There are several “warning signs” to look for to help determine if you have scoliosis. Should you notice any one or more of these signs, you should schedule an exam with a doctor.

  • Shoulders are different height
  • Head not centered above pelvis
  • Appearance of raised, prominent hip
  • Rib cages at different heights
  • Change in look/texture of skin over spine (dimples, color changes, etc)
  • Body leans to one side
  • Uneven Waist