Spinal injuries which are purely orthopedic (musculoskeletal) rather than affecting the spinal cord can take many forms, from hairline vertebral fractures to herniated discs to arthritis. An orthopedic spinal injury can be minor to severe, with minor back injuries possibly needing only noninvasive treatment (such as physical therapy) whereas severe injuries may warrant back surgery – which today is often minimally invasive and outpatient.
You may be wondering how an orthopedist would rate your back injury as compared to another person’s injury or chronic back pain. Let’s talk about how an orthopedic spinal injury is determined insofar as diagnosis and treatment, and where you can find outstanding spinal care here in the Rochester Hills area.
What Is an Orthopedic Spinal Injury?
The spine has three main areas: the cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (mid-back), and lumbar spine (low-back). The spine also has several bones at the bottom that don’t move: the sacrum and the coccyx.
The spine has many orthopedic components, such as the vertebrae, ligaments, tendons, discs, and adjacent muscles. The vertebrae also have joints, called facet joints, that allow your back to twist and turn instead of being stationary. These facet joints include cartilage which can wear down just like in virtually any other joint in the body, causing osteoarthritis and joint pain in the back.
Some of the main types of orthopedic spinal injuries include:
- Vertebral fractures
- Spinal misalignments (e.g., kyphosis or scoliosis)
- Bone spurs
- Herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Back strains (a pulling or tearing of a tendon or muscle)
- Back sprains (a pulling or tearing of a ligament)
- Spinal tumors
- Spine infections
Up to 80% of Americans experience back pain at some point. And as we age, so does the spine – sometimes causing degenerative disc disease (DDD). Your particular diagnosis will determine the treatments that are appropriate for addressing your back pain.
Classification of Orthopedic Spinal Injuries
Currently, there are several classification systems based on the type of injury sustained. However, there is a single standardized tool for spinal cord injuries to determine the severity of the injury after a traumatic event, such as a car accident or sports injury.
There is also a single tool that classifies fractures of the vertebrae. This classification system considers how the fracture occurred, the area of the spine involved, and the severity of the injury. This helps physicians to define the proper treatment of the back injury in a standardized way.
Treatment for Orthopedic Spinal Injuries in Rochester Hills, MI
Here at Ahlgren Spine, our own Dr. Bradley Ahlgren has over 25 years of experience treating spinal injuries and back pain. He is a board-certified, fellowship-trained spine surgeon who treats a wide variety of spinal injuries, including injuries of the neck and back as well as natural back problems such as scoliosis and herniated discs.
Dr. Ahlgren and our entire staff are here to help you get back your life without pain. Call Ahlgren Spine today at (248) 215-8080 or fill out our online request form to schedule an appointment – whichever way is more convenient and comfortable for you. We have three locations in the greater Southeast Michigan area for your convenience. We are here to help you, and we look forward to seeing you here!