Cervical (Neck) Fracture
The seven bones in the neck are the cervical vertebrae. They support the head and connect it to the shoulders and body. A fracture, or break, in one of the cervical vertebrae is commonly called a broken neck. Cervical fractures usually result from high-energy trauma, such as automobile crashes or falls. Athletes are also at risk.
A spinal fracture is a serious injury. The most common fractures of the spine occur in the thoracic (midback) and lumbar spine (lower back) or at the connection of the two (thoracolumbar junction). These fractures are typically caused by high-velocity accidents, such as a car crash or fall from height. Men experience fractures of the thoracic or lumbar spine four times more often than women. Seniors are also at risk for these fractures, due to weakened bone from osteoporosis.
Lumbar Disk Herniation
Sometimes called a slipped or ruptured disk, a herniated disk most often occurs in your lower back. It is one of the most common causes of low back pain, as well as leg pain (sciatica). Between 60 and 80 percent of people will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. A high percentage of people will have low back pain caused by a herniated disk.
The seven bones of the spinal column in your neck (cervical vertebrae) are connected to each other by ligaments–strong bands of tissue that act like thick rubber bands. A sprain (stretch) or tear can occur in one or more of these ligaments when a sudden movement, such as a motor vehicle accident or a hard fall, causes the neck to extend to an extreme position.
Chordoma is a rare tumor that usually occurs in the spine and base of the skull. It is a malignant tumor that grows fairly slowly. It can spread to other organs, usually the lungs. It represents only about 1 percent of all malignant bone tumors.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Almost everyone will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. A common cause of low back pain is lumbar spinal stenosis. As we age, our spines change. These normal wear-and-tear effects of aging can lead to narrowing of the spinal canal. This condition is called spinal stenosis.
Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis
The most common cause of low back pain in adolescent athletes that can be seen on X-ray is a stress fracture in one of the bones (vertebrae) that make up the spinal column. Technically, this condition is called spondylolysis (spon-dee-low-lye-sis).
Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure used to correct problems with the small bones of the spine (vertebrae). It is essentially a “welding” process. The basic idea is to fuse together the painful vertebrae so that they heal into a single, solid bone.