Symptoms of spinal disease


Discomfort and pain in the back are mostly due to diseases of the spine and often develop from initially only slight pain into serious diseases.

There are the following disease types:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Inflammation
  • Back pain

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Who am I?
My name is dr. Nicolas Gumpert. I am a specialist in orthopedics and the founder of .
Various television programs and print media report regularly about my work. On HR television you can see me every 6 weeks live on "Hallo Hessen".
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The spine is difficult to treat. On the one hand it is exposed to high mechanical loads, on the other hand it has great mobility.

The treatment of the spine (e.g. herniated disc, facet syndrome, foramen stenosis, etc.) therefore requires a lot of experience.
I focus on a wide variety of diseases of the spine.
The aim of any treatment is treatment without surgery.

Which therapy achieves the best results in the long term can only be determined after looking at all of the information (Examination, X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, etc.) be assessed.

You can find me in:

  • Lumedis - your orthopedic surgeon
    Kaiserstrasse 14
    60311 Frankfurt am Main

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Further information about myself can be found at Dr. Nicolas Gumpert

These symptoms of spinal disease are there

If the spine is diseased, the following symptoms are typical:

  • dizziness
  • Neck pain
  • Tension
  • a headache
  • Arm pain
  • nausea
  • fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • exhaustion
  • sweat
  • Symptoms of paralysis in the leg (if the lumbar spine is diseased)

If the spinal disease is the inflammatory form, fever, fatigue, increased sweating and loss of appetite are typical accompanying symptoms.

If the spinal disease is in the degenerative form, pain and tension in the muscles are typical.

If the wear and tear is in the thoracic spine, pain and a high degree of tenderness are caused. If, on the other hand, there is more wear and tear in the cervical spine area, then dizziness, pain and tension in the neck, arms and head, severe nausea and tension in the shoulder muscles are the most common symptoms.

If the spinal column disease is based on a tumor-related disease, sensory disturbances up to paralysis often occur.
If the spine is injured as a result of accidents, pain due to misalignment and / or bruises are typical symptoms.

Typical symptoms of inflammatory spinal disease

A typical symptom of inflammatory spinal disease is pain of varying character and location. In the case of an inflammatory spinal disease, pain usually comes from the intervertebral discs or the vertebral bodies. Characteristically, the pain symptoms develop insidiously with increasing intensity in an inflammatory process.

At first, the pain is usually confined to a specific section of the spine. In the further course, however, it can spread over the entire back. A so-called flexural stiffness can develop due to pain. This is usually promoted by the fact that those affected adopt a relieving posture and there is increased tension in the back muscles.

In the case of inflammatory diseases, the pain can also be described very well as pressure or vertebral tapping pain. The spinal problems in the back and / or neck typically increase during the night and during exercise. In addition, accompanying symptoms such as increased temperatures, local overheating, general signs of fatigue and loss of appetite can occur.

Particular attention is required for small children, as the classic back pain may be absent here. Instead, inflammatory spinal diseases at a young age are more likely to manifest themselves as refusing to walk or complaining about abdominal pain. Complications can also develop from the symptoms of inflammatory spinal disease. This includes, among other things, the formation of an abscess or, depending on the severity, a paraplegic syndrome with corresponding failure symptoms.

Are you more interested in this topic? Then read our next article below: Inflammation of the cervical spine

Typical symptoms of degenerative spinal disease

The term "spondylosis deformans" describes a large number of changes in the context of a degenerative spinal disease. These include, for example, the degeneration of intervertebral discs, sclerotherapy of the vertebral bodies, narrowing of the joint space and the bony attachments on the edge of a vertebral body. Characteristic complaints develop due to such degenerative changes.

Above all, load-dependent back pain should be mentioned here, which can be accompanied by symptoms of numbness and irradiated pain in the legs. However, the pain may already exist at rest. Another important aspect is the restriction of movement and function of the spine. Depending on where the degenerative processes are located, the respective symptoms develop.

In the case of cervical spine symptoms, neck and shoulder pain accompanied by muscular tension are in the foreground. It can also lead to severe headaches, migraine attacks, nausea, dizziness or nerve irritation.

If the focus is more on the lumbar spine, the pain also dominates, but there are typically also abnormal sensations in the form of tingling or numbness, which can radiate into the legs. The typical symptom is, in general and regardless of the extent of the degenerative change, pain with consequent restricted mobility.

If you want to know more on this subject, then read our next article below: Degeneration of the spine

Pain associated with a spinal disease

Unfortunately, pain is a very common symptom in all spinal diseases. On the one hand, the spine bears a large part of the body weight, but on the other hand it offers enormous flexibility for movement and rotation of the body. In addition, it shields the spinal cord and the exiting nerves.

With signs of wear and tear over the years, but also with acute emergencies such as a herniated disc, many sensitive structures on the spine can cause pain. Nerves or the spinal cord are not always affected.

A large number of people suffer from frequent low back pain. Exact causes for this can rarely be found. As people become less sedentary, diffuse back pain and degenerative painful spinal diseases will increase in the future.

You might also be interested in the following articles: Therapy for chronic back pain, exercises for back pain

Vertigo associated with a spinal disease

Spinal diseases can affect any section of the spine, from the tailbone to the back of the head. Dizziness can appear as a concomitant symptom, especially in diseases that can be traced back to the upper sections of the cervical spine.

It is often based on the so-called cervical spine syndrome, which is defined as pain that is localized in the cervical spine. The causes of this pain syndrome can vary, but nerves or the intervertebral discs are often affected. A herniated disc can also occur in the cervical spine. The herniated disc should not be confused with muscular tension, nerve entrapment in the neck or degenerative changes in the cervical spine. All of them can lead to pain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and other symptoms.

The dizziness arises either from an insufficient supply of the brain with oxygen or from nerve impairments in the spine. Tension or herniated discs, for example, can also constrict blood vessels in the neck, which supply the brain with oxygen. This creates dizziness and headaches. In other cases, the spinal cord that runs through the vertebral bodies can be affected by a herniated disc. This means that irritations and faulty stimuli can be transmitted directly into the brain and lead to dizziness and pain. This condition must be remedied as quickly as possible to avoid consequential damage.

In rarer cases, dizziness can be a psychological symptom. Those affected by a cervical spine syndrome in particular suffer a lot of stress and tend to increase the dizziness unconsciously.

You might also be interested in this article: Dizziness in spinal disorders

How can spinal diseases be diagnosed?

Degenerative spinal diseases can be diagnosed through physical examination and supporting X-rays.
If a serious illness is suspected, computed tomography (high radiation exposure!) And magnetic resonance tomography (very expensive!) Can also be used as diagnostic methods. A possible injury to the spinal cord (e.g. in the case of a slipped disc) can then be easily identified.

If an inflammatory spinal disease is to be detected, blood samples are preferably analyzed in the laboratory. In some cases, urine samples and gastric juice samples can also be helpful for the diagnosis. If a tumor is suspected to be the cause of the spinal disease, the diagnosis is carried out using computed tomography, bone scintigrams and magnetic resonance imaging. For some of the examinations, a contrast agent must be injected for more precise imaging.

Therapeutic measures for spinal diseases

The therapy depends on the type of spinal disease:

  1. Degenerative spine disease
    With degenerative diseases of the spine, bed rest is usually prescribed in the acute phase. Supportive drugs are prescribed to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.Muscle relaxants (relax the cramped muscles) are also popular to provide relief from degenerative spinal diseases.
  2. Chronic spine disease
    If there is a chronic spinal disease, physiotherapeutic measures (e.g. physiotherapy, massages, rehab sports) are preferred to drug therapy or at least put aside.
  3. disc prolapse
    If it is a severe herniated disc, an operation is inevitable. This is especially the case when extreme paralysis occurs due to the herniated disc.
  4. In the case of inflammatory spinal disease, which is usually only temporary, strict bed rest is prescribed and the patient is often put on a plaster corset to completely immobilize the affected part of the spine. Then, after determining the pathogen present, antibiotic therapy of the inflammation takes place.
  5. If a tumor is causing the spinal disease, it must be treated first. In most cases, removal of the tumor or radiation is indicated.
  6. If the injury to the spine was caused by trauma, this spinal disease is treated by putting on a cervical collar, restoring and stabilizing the spine.
  7. If the spine is only slightly ill, plenty of exercise and warmth can help.

The prognosis of spinal disease

As soon as a spinal disease is suspected, diagnostics should be carried out. Especially with early therapy, a negative course of the disease can usually be alleviated as best as possible.

If this early therapy is not given, serious consequences can arise:

  • Posture damage
  • permanent restrictions of movement
  • chronic pain
  • Paresthesia
  • Failures in nerve functions
  • permanent paralysis

Secondary diseases of the untreated spinal disease are then likely:

  • Atrophy of the muscles
  • Displacement of the jaw
  • Misalignments

The following preventive measures must be observed

  • Regular exercise is necessary to counteract unnecessary wear and tear on the spine.
  • A healthy diet also makes an important contribution to a healthy spinal metabolism.
  • Permanent overloading of the spine must be avoided.
  • Bad posture should be corrected and / or trained.
  • Driving carefully is important to avoid injury from an accident. Driving a car under the influence of alcohol must be avoided at all costs.

Causes of Spinal Disease

When it comes to diseases of the spine, a distinction is made between inflammation-related and degenerative diseases.

While the inflammatory spine diseases usually consist of inflammation of the vertebral bodies or the intervertebral discs, the degenerative spinal diseases have many causes. Often the degenerative spine causes changes to muscles, ligaments, vertebral joints, vertebral bodies and intervertebral discs as part of the natural process of wear, so that pain can be felt when stress is applied or neurological failures can occur.

The following article could also be of interest to you: L5 syndrome

Forms of spinal diseases

  • Whiplash
  • disc prolapse
  • ankylosing spondylitis
  • Sacroiliitis
  • pinched nerve
  • Cervical spine syndrome
  • Osteochondrosis
  • "Lumbago"
  • Scoliosis
  • Disc inflammation