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Are you wondering if you’re doing more harm than good when you crack your back? If so, you’re not alone. Thousands, if not millions, of people routinely ask themselves or their health care providers the same question. There’s just something about cracking your back that feels so good but also so wrong. In today’s post, we’ll give you all the information you need to know about exactly what happens when you crack your back. To start things off, let’s go over some related anatomy.

Spine Anatomy

The spine is divided into cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back), and lumbar (lower back) regions. Each region is composed of uniquely shaped bones known as vertebrae. There are a total of twenty-four vertebrae in the mentioned regions. The breakdown of vertebrae per region is as follows:

  • 7 cervical
  • 12 thoracic
  • 5 lumbar

An anatomical spine is one in which the vertebrae of each region perfectly align to form a channel that allows the spinal cord to pass from the brain to the lower back. This channel is called the spinal canal. In addition to forming the spinal canal, the vertebrae have the important job of facilitating movement by serving as the sites for ligament and tendon attachments. The joints that are responsible for moving the spine are called the facet joints.

Facet Joint Anatomy

The facet joints are formed by the joining of adjacent vertebrae. Like all joints of the body, the facet joints consist of two bony surfaces covered in cartilage facing one another. A fluid-filled capsule surrounds each facet joint. A healthy facet joint is one that moves freely and smoothly. An unhealthy facet joint is one in which the bone, cartilage, or capsule is diseased or damaged.

Cracking Your Back

When you crack your back, you’re cracking your facet joints. The process that causes the “cracking” noise is really not that complicated.

The fluid found in the capsule that surrounds facet joints contains nitrogen and carbon dioxide gases. When you twist, turn, or maneuver your back in such a manner that stresses the facet joints, pressure is placed on the fluid and the gases inside it escape and a “crack” is heard.

Cracking your back can temporarily relieve tension and feel good; however, it is not a reliable short or long-term treatment option for back pain. Cracking your back every once and a while will not cause damage. Frequently cracking your back or manipulating your spine can lead to back problems. If you feel the need to constantly crack your back, you probably have an underlying problem with your spine. Some frequently seen problems include the following:

  • Poor posture
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Ligament sprains
  • Tendon strains

These and other problems are best diagnosed and treated by an orthopedic spine specialist. Once a formal diagnosis is made, an effective treatment plan can be prescribed and the urge to constantly crack your back will go away.

Conclusion

The main thing to look out for when cracking your back is the frequency in which you do it. Cracking your back on a daily basis should be avoided. If you’re in pain that won’t go away until you crack your back, you should make an appointment with an orthopedic spine specialist.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

An epiduroscopy, also called a spinal endoscopy, is used to diagnose and treat spinal nerve pain.

Epiduroscopy

What is Epiduroscopy?

An epiduroscopy, also called spinal endoscopy, is a procedure performed to treat spinal nerve pain such as sciatica and adhesions. In this procedure, a tiny fiber-optic camera is inserted into the epidural space through the sacral bone.

Who needs Epiduroscopy?

The procedure is utilized in relieving pain that arises due to adhesions that form following spinal surgery. It is also used in managing long standing sciatica. Epiduroscopy is also used for diagnostic purposes, as it can help your doctor determine the cause, location, and severity of scar tissue or adhesions.

What are the steps in Epiduroscopy?

Preparing for the Procedure

In order to perform the procedure, the patient is asked to lie on their stomach so that access can be obtained to the lower back. After cleaning the skin with antiseptic solution, a small amount of local anesthetic is injected into it to numb it.

Inserting the Needle

Under the guidance of x-rays, a needle is inserted into the sacral hiatus, which is a small opening in the bottom of the sacrum. The needle is passed all the way into the spine.

Inserting the Guide Wire

A small guide wire is then inserted through the needle, and the needle is pulled back out over the guide wire. A series of dilators are then passed over this guide wire in order to create a large enough opening to pass the epiduroscope through.

Inserting the Camera

A small catheter with a fiber-optic camera at the tip of it is passed through this opening into the epidural space. This helps visualize exactly where the catheter is being passed to. Sometimes additional imaging is also utilized to ensure the right location is reached with the catheter.

Administering the Injection

Once the catheter is in place, it is gently maneuvered to break down the adhesions. Then, an injection of local anesthetic and steroids is given. This can numb the nerves that are in this area and help reduce pain.

After Surgery

Following the procedure, the patient is observed for a short period of time and is discharged home after that. This procedure may effectively help reduce pain due to adhesions and sciatica. This is because the structures that are affected can be directly visualized, and treatment can be a lot more targeted.

Complications are fairly rare and can include mild bleeding at the site of the procedure. Patients may feel slightly uncomfortable and may experience mild pain following the procedure but this usually passes after a short period of time.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

These injections can help relieve pain and confirm a diagnosis

Diagnostic Injections to Confirm Pain Location

What are Diagnostic Injections to Confirm Pain Location?

Pain is a common symptom of nerve irritation. In many cases, tests are required to confirm which nerve is causing the pain. In this article, we shall take a look at diagnostic injections as a tool used by your doctor for diagnosing and confirming the location of pain.

Diagnostic injections are injections that are utilized for making a diagnosis and sometimes even helping as a treatment. The fluid injected usually consists of a local anesthetic or a steroid injection that is used to aid in isolating the nerve that is causing the pain.

Who needs Diagnostic Injections to Confirm Pain Location?

Diagnostic injections to confirm the source of pain are usually performed when there is nerve involvement and pain due to a problem with the vertebral column. If you have osteoarthritis that is affecting the facet joints of the vertebra, your doctor may use this procedure.

What are the steps in Diagnostic Injections to Confirm Pain Location?

Locating the Affected Joint

The likely bone is identified through clinical examination and x-rays. The skin is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and the diagnostic injection is performed.

Numbing the Nerve

Once the likely facet joint is identified, a small amount of local anesthetic with or without the steroid is injected into the joint to numb the nerve. If blocking the nerve results in a reduction of pain, then the joint that is causing the pain can be isolated and treatment can be offered that is directed towards that joint.

After Surgery

The main advantages of diagnostic injections are that it helps identify which of the joints are affected and which nerves need to be treated. By itself, a diagnostic injection is a treatment method.

The risks are minimal and can include just mild pain and swelling in the site of injection. If the joint identified is the wrong one, further injections may be required to isolate the nerve.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.