Back extension is an exercise used to stabilize the spine by bending it backwards. Back extension is typically used in back rehabilitation programs and may be focused on certain areas, like the low back. Standing, walking and prone press-up exercises are common back extension movements. The McKenzie method is a self-treatment program that uses extension exercises to help with back and neck pain.
Back flexion involves bending the back forward from the waist. It is often used in back rehabilitation programs among patients who experience pain relief when the back is flexed.
Flexion may also be performed by tilting the pelvis or pulling the knees to the chest. Certain flexion-focused rehabilitation programs -- such as Williams Flexion -- are considered effective for relieving pain in the low back, as well as back ligaments.
When joints in the spine are too loose (have too much flexion) or become dysfunctional, this can cause back instability. Specifically, instability occurs when stabilization systems built into the spine -- the spinal cord, bony spinal column and spinal muscles to name a few -- aren’t properly functioning.
Back surgery involves changing a patient’s back structure and anatomy surgically to provide pain relief. Examples of back surgery include herniated disc removal, spinal fusion and lumbar discectomy. Technological advances mean that some back surgeries can be minimally invasive -- and as a result involve a quick recovery -- while others are more extensive, so they involve longer recovery periods.
Back surgery should be a last resort -- in patients for whom pain is intractable after months of non-surgical treatments and when other possible underlying causes of pain, such as infection and tumor, have been ruled out.
Bilateral Foraminal Stenosis
When the spinal nerve root becomes compressed on both sides because the foramen becomes narrowed, the condition is called bilateral foraminal stenosis. A collapsed disc space or foraminal herniated disc may also be to blame for the condition.
Bilateral Foraminal Stenosis is most common in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (low back) spinal regions. Bilateral compression is less common than that which occurs on one side of the nerve root.
Orthopedic implants made of chemical compounds that gradually dissolve and are absorbed by the body are called bioabsorbable polymers. These compounds are ideal for prosthetics since they are engineered to dissolve at about the rate that new bone grows.
Bioabsorbable polymers are also more durable and pliable than metal alloy bone prosthetics, which sometimes interfere with new bone growth. One drawback to the material is that as it degrades in the body it can release toxins, resulting in inflammation.
When materials are compatible with living tissue they are considered to be biocompatible. Biocompatible materials do not cause an immunological response when introduced to the body or its fluids.
Biocompatible materials are important when used in medical implants and prosthetics to avoid rejection by the body.
When living systems break down chemical substances into simpler compounds the process is called biodegradation.
An example of biodegradation is when bacteria, yeast and fungi break down organic substances into less harmful environmental byproducts.
Biofeedback is a training program during which sensors are attached to the body and give a patient information about heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. The idea behind biofeedback is to help the patient to learn how to affect or control these vital signs.
Biofeedback offers patients cues about the body’s physiological stress responses. That information may then be used to develop visualization and relaxation techniques to alleviate bothersome issues such as stress, headaches and pain perception.
Biofeedback is based on the theory that harnessing the mind may help to influence normally unconscious bodily functions.
A class of drugs that increase bone strength and density are called bisphosphonates. Active compounds in this drug class work by binding to damaged bone cells and keeping the bone from breaking down by slowing bone a process called resorption.
By slowing resorption the bone is allowed to recover and heal.
These compounds may reduce bone pain, control calcium levels in the blood and reduce the risk of hip and spine fractures.
Myeloma, osteoporosis and Paget’s disease are a few of the conditions treated by bisphosphonates.
A black disc is a dehydrated and completely degenerated spinal disc. Its name is based on how the disc appears on MRI -- completely black. A normal, healthy disc appears on MRI with a white center.
Bodywork refers to hands-on manipulation of the body; it is a common practice among alternative medicine practitioners.
Massage therapy, deep tissue manipulation and yoga are examples of bodywork. These practices aim to treat chronic pain by providing relaxation, stimulating blood circulation and reducing muscle tension and anxiety.
The theory behind bodywork is that touch and movement promote physical and emotional wellbeing.
A substance that is extracted from bone is called a bone derivative. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) are examples of derivatives used to stimulate bone formation.
Bone derivatives are used during certain types of spinal fusion surgery.
Bone transplanted from a donor to a recipient to stimulate vertebral fusion during lumbar surgery is called a bone graft. Grafting tissue helps to facilitate osteoinduction -- the process of building new bone.
Bone grafts are placed in disc space or other areas to act as scaffolding between vertebrae. That scaffold provides a platform around which the patient’s new bone can grow.
Tissue for a graft can be recruited from either a part of the patient’s own pelvic bone (iliac crest), called allograft bone, or from a donor bone, called allograft bone. Allograft bone may be derived from a cadaver and, in some cases, synthetic bone may be used as a bone graft substitute.
The soft, fatty network of connective tissue that fills the the internal cavity of the bone (medulla) is called bone marrow.
Bone marrow contains stem cells that generate three blood components: platelets, leukocytes and red blood cells. Marrow also contains osteoprogenitor cells that help new bone to form and grow.
During lumbar spine fusion surgery bone marrow may be combined with bone graft substitutes to increase the possibility of a successful spinal fusion.
Bone that is in the midst of healing may be aligned and immobilized using a thin metal implant called a bone plate. The plate is held in place using screws.
Bone plates may be used following spine surgery to provide stability and prevent slipping in bones that are fused. Bone plates are most commonly used is during cervical fusion surgery.
Bone scans are performed by injecting a radioactive marker (radiotracer) into a patient’s body via an intravenous line. The marker travels through the blood and eventually arrives at the bones.
A few hours after receiving the injection the patient is placed in a scanner designed to spot concentrations of the radioactive marker.
Some conditions detected by bone scans include tumors, cancers that tend to spread to the bones, fractures, infections and metabolic disorders.
Metal implants inserted into bone to immobilize fractured bone segments are called bone screws. Bone screws help with healing and may be used as part of spinal fusion surgery to hold bone in place.
A pedicle screw used to hold rods together in the spine is an example of a bone screw commonly used during spinal fusion. The screws may be placed at connected spine segments with short rods used to connect them.
These screws and rods help to prevent motion in fused spine segments, which aids with healing. Although once bone grafts grow and fusion has occurred the screws and rods are no longer needed, the screws and rods tend to be left in place.
A plastic body jacket used to treat adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis is called a Boston brace. This brace (also called a Thoraco-Lumbo-Sacral Orthosis brace) helps to straighten the spine by wrapping under the arms and around the rib cage, lower back, and hips.
A spine curved at between 25-40 degrees is best treated with a Boston brace. This type of brace has been shown to be effective with stopping the progression of scoliosis. It tends to be worn for most of the day -- at least 18-23 hours -- and is best used to treat middle and lower back curvature.
When the inner part of a spinal disc (nucleus) protrudes but stays contained within the ring of ligament fibers designed to contain it (annulus fibrosus) it is said to be bulging. It is distinct from a herniated disc, which occurs when the nucleus leaks out.
Bulging discs may put pressure on nearby nerve roots, causing pain to radiate to other parts of the body.
When a vertebra breaks due to immediate and severe compression it is called a burst fracture. Car accidents or a severe falls are the most common causes for these types of fractures.
When fractures burst, pieces of the vertebra shatter and may infiltrate surrounding tissues and sometimes the spinal canal. This is distinct from a compression fracture because the vertebra breaks in multiple directions.
A patient who sustains a burst fracture needs to be hospitalized and treated immediately to minimize spinal cord injury and possibly paralysis.
Burst fractures tend to cause problems for patients long after treatment is done. Kyphosis may result from a burst fracture injury.
- Back Extension
- Back Flexion
- Back Instability
- Back Surgery
- Bilateral Foraminal Stenosis
- Bioabsorbable Polymer
- Black Disc
- Bone Derivative
- Bone Graft
- Bone Marrow
- Bone Plate
- Bone Scan
- Bone Screw
- Boston Brace
- Bulging Disc
- Burst Fracture