Conditions We Treat
The physicians at St. Luke’s Spine & Pain Associates treat pain caused by work injuries, spinal cord problems, cancer and other chronic diseases.
The most common problems for which patients are referred to the St. Luke’s Spine & Pain Associates include:
Stenosis results when bone spurs narrow the foramen or spinal canal. This puts pressure on nerves, causing pain.
Wear and tear on a disk in the spine can cause the disk to weaken and push outward - or herniate - and then press on nearby nerves. A contained herniated disk means the soft nucleus is protruding outward. An extruded herniated disk means the firm annulus has torn, letting the soft center squeeze through.
Discs naturally degenerate over a lifetime. However, for some people, the aging process becomes more dramatic, causing severe low back pain and consequently interfering with their quality of life.
Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis
These are spinal conditions. Spondylolysis is a defect in the back part of a vertebra in the spine. Spondylolisthesis is the slipping forward of a vertebra in the spine. Spondylolisthesis is often caused by spondylolysis.
This is a painful conditions caused by degenerative arthritis that affects the facet joints in the spine. This can be caused by wear and tear, previous back injury, fractures, torn ligaments or other disc problems.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
This is an uncommon form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or leg that develops after an injury, surgery, stroke or heart attack. With early treatment, improvement and even remission may be possible. Symptoms include:
- Continuous burning or throbbing pain in the arm, leg, hand or foot
- Sensitivity to touch or cold
- Swelling of the painful area
- Changes in skin temperature (sweaty and then cold)
- Changes in skin color (white and mottled to red or blue)
- Changes in skin texture (tender, thin or shiny)
- Changes in hair and nail growth
- Decreased ability to move the affected body part
When the cartilage that protects and cushions the joints breaks down, the bones rub against each other, resulting in damage to the tissue and bone and chronic joint pain. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and most often affects the spine, fingers, thumbs, hips, knees or toes. Symptoms include:
- Pain that usually is related to activity of the joint. With progession, pain is present even during rest.
- Limited motion of the joint
- Tenderness and occasional swelling
- Enlargement of joints (bony knuckles)
- Grinding sensation with movement
Post Laminectomy Syndrome
After the removal of a piece of bone in the spine (laminectomy), sciatica pain still may exist. Other symptoms, such as numbness, tingling and muscle weakness also may be present. This group of symptoms after removing the lamina is called a postlaminectomy syndrome.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition where you cannot feel pain in your feet. Lack of feeling in your feet may lead to injury without knowing or sensing it.
Sacroiliac and Other Joint Pain
The sacroiliac joints are formed by the connection of the sacrum (the lower portion of the spine, below the lumbar spine) and the right and left iliac bones that make up the pelvis. These joints need to support the entire weight of the upper body when we are erect, which places a large amount of stress across them. This can lead to wearing of the cartilage of the sacroiliac joints and arthritis. The most common symptom of sacroiliac joint dysfunction is pain in the lower back, the back of the hips or in the groin and thighs.
Neck pain is a common problem that can be caused by poor posture, injury or wear and tear.
- Strains and sprains can occur during an accident or when the neck is overused through repetitive motion. They can also cause muscles and ligaments to become inflamed (swollen and painful).
- Whiplash - in a car accident, fall or sports injury - can result when an impact throws the head, forcing the neck too far forward and then backward. This violent motion can cause a painful injury to the muscles, ligaments or joints in the neck.
- A sneeze or cough, can cause a disk to bulge (herniate). A herniated disk can put pressure on the nerve and cause pain. Over time, disks can also thin out (degenerate). Flattened disks don’t cushion vertebrae well and can cause vertebrae to rub together. Rubbing vertebrae can pinch nerves and cause pain.
- Aging and injury can cause joints to slowly degenerate. Thinned joints can also cause vertebrae to rub together. This can cause abnormal growths of bone (bone spurs) to form on vertebrae. Bone spurs put pressure on nerves, causing pain.
Back pain is a common problem with a variety of causes. Low back pain can be caused by problems with any part of the lumbar spine. A disk can herniate (push out) and press on a nerve. Vertebrae can rub against each other or slip out of place. This can irritate facet joints and nerves. It can also lead to stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal or foramen.
Sciatica is leg pain often due to pressure on a nerve in the lower back that connects to the sciatic nerve. This pressure may be caused by a damaged disk or by abnormal bone growth. Symptoms may include pain, burning, tingling or numbness that shoots down the leg.
Shingles is a painful skin rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. The first sign of shingles is usually pain, burning, tingling, or itching on one part of your face or body. A red rash with small blisters appears most commonly on the back, chest or abdomen.