The spine is a structure made up of bone and cartilage that protects the spinal cord, a collection of nerves that connect the brain to the rest of the body. Thanks to the spine, people can walk and maintain their balance; disorders in this part of the body cause motor and other signs.
In this article, we will briefly describe the main features of 11 of the main diseases of the spine, Such as spina bifida, scoliosis, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Disorders of the spine can be due to very different causes, from intrauterine developmental errors to viral or bacterial infections.
However, and since we are referring to the same region of the nervous system, many of the disorders that we will describe cause similar symptoms, such as paralysis and muscle stiffness.
Scoliosis is one of the most common diseases of the spine, especially in women. It is characterized by the curvature of the column, Which can get worse over the years; in milder cases, this alteration does not cause major complications, but if the degree of deviation is high, it can interfere with breathing.
2. Lumbar spinal stenosis
Lumbar spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal, which in turn causes a build-up of the spinal cord and lumbar nerves, causing pain. It’s a degenerative disorder usually associated with agingAlthough it can also appear as a result of alterations such as achondroplasia or dwarfism.
3. Spina bifida
Sometimes the spine does not close from above, especially during intrauterine development; when it happens part of the spinal cord is partially uncovered. The most common is that the damage occurs in the lower back. Although severe cases are associated with multiple problems, 10-20% of people are born with some degree of spina bifida.
4. Cauda equina syndrome
The ponytail (“equine tail”) is a collection of spinal nerves located in the lower back. Damage in this region causes signs such as muscle weakness, paralysis, gait disturbances and sciatica pain due to the appearance of dysfunctions in the lower motor neurons of this part of the spinal cord.
5. Chiari malformation
Chiari malformations are structural defects of the cerebellum, a region of the brain that plays a key role in motor coordination. sometimes during pregnancy, part of the cerebellar nerve tissue slides through the foramen magnum, Hole that connects the base of the skull to the spine. Symptoms vary depending on the severity.
6. Transverse myelitis
Transverse myelitis is defined as inflammation of the spinal cord. This disorder results in motor symptoms and signs such as muscle weakness and paralysis, as well as sensory deficits (for example, the appearance of pain sensations in the absence of stimulation). It is mainly associated with infections, tumors, vascular disorders already multiple sclerosis.
7. Multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is the most common neurological disorder in adults. It is a disease related to progressive degeneration of the myelin sheaths which cover the axons of many neurons, allowing efficient transmission of nerve impulses. This causes muscle, sensory, and psychological symptoms that worsen over time.
8. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
This disease leads to the destruction of neurons involved in voluntary muscle motility. The main symptoms and signs are stiffness, atrophy and other muscle disorders, which cause increasing difficulty swallowing food and fluids, Talk and even breathe; the latter problem usually causes death.
9. Ankylosing spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis is a subtype of arthritis that is characterized by inflammation of the joints between the bones of the spine, usually in the area where it joins the pelvis. It is believed to be due to unrest related to the immune system and pathological inflammation of tissue. Stiffness and back pain gradually increase.
10. spondylosis (degenerative disc disease)
Spondylosis consists of progressive degeneration of the intervertebral discs and cartilage which protects the points of union between the vertebrae. It is common in older people because normal aging involves this process to a greater or lesser degree. Sometimes it affects the spinal cord and nerves, gradually compressing them.
“Kyphosis” is a term used to refer to the normal curvature of the spine when directed from the inside to the outside of the body. If the curvature is 45 degrees or more the column loses the ability to move inward (Lordosis), causing postural alterations, pain and sometimes deformity and breathing problems.