The spine is a complex system involving the cervical (neck), thoracic, and lumbar (low back) regions. With age, all patients develop degenerative disc disease and some arthritis which for most patients is mild and manageable. In some patients, however, the degeneration can be more severe and cause stenosis (pressure on the nerve or spinal cord). Because each vertebra can cause pain in different areas of the body, the pain from the disease can be sensed in the back, leg, neck, or the arms. When patients develop stenosis they can develop arm or leg pain. In severe cases patients can have weakness as well. Most problems are treated without surgery, but when surgery is indicted the goal is primarily to take pressure off the nerves or spinal cord.
In some patients, the spinal column can be bent forward (kyphosis) or to the side (scoliosis). Kyphosis or scoliosis can affect children as well as adults and is best managed by a surgeon with specialized training and a team approach with all of your doctors.
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