Who Is A Neurologist?
There are so many branches of medical science, and it is not easy for a layman to understand the difference between different physicians. You must know the type of doctor to consult for your medical conditions. Both neurosurgeon and neurologist specialize in treating medical conditions that affect the central nervous system. The difference lies in the type of treatment they provide. A neurologist will treat the condition and disease of the brain and spine. They do not perform surgery. A few conditions a neurologist treats are Alzheimer's, headaches, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and peripheral nerve disorders. Other specialties include pediatrics neurology, neurophysiology, epilepsy, behavioral neurology, vascular neurology, and others.
Who Is A Neurosurgeon?
A prominent neurosurgeon in India talks about how neurosurgery is mostly connected to brain surgeries. A neurosurgeon also looks after spine conditions. Neurosurgeons typically treat conditions like neck pain, back pain, herniated disks, sciatica, degenerative disease, brain and spine tumors, cerebrovascular disorders, stroke. They are also trained in taking care of conditions that are caused as a symptom related to an issue with the central nervous system. Like for example, carpal tunnel is related to issues with the cervical spine.
Neurosurgeons are involved in complex surgeries. They are expert in determining if the condition requires extensive or minimally invasive surgery. The neurosurgeon sees to that minimally invasive procedures are implemented wherever possible that provides utmost comfort to the patient. Neurosurgeons will also perform emergency services and are available for additional review of a diagnosis. Neurosurgeons service is called when a patient has a sudden trauma in the spinal cord or brain.
Education And Experience
A neurologist will have to undergo 4 years of premedical studies in a university and college. They will have to undergo 4 years of medical school therapy to earn them a DO or MD degree. They must have 1-year experience as an intern and 3 years of training in a neurology residency program. Some neurologists undergo additional training in sleep medicine, movement disorder, and stroke. A neurosurgeon faces the longest training when compared to other medical specialties. They need to undergo 5 to 7 years of residency along with 4 years of premedical school, 4 years of medical school and a one-year internship. After this, they will have to pursue a fellowship in an area they want to specialize in. It can be peripheral nerve surgery, pediatric neurosurgery, and spine.
There is an overlap in these to medical specialists. There are similarities in the condition they can treat. Most of the time, they work collaboratively. A neurologist will refer patients to neurosurgeons when the treatment requires surgery. They will be referred back to the neurologist for further rehabilitative treatment. You will have to first consult with your primary care doctor when you face spine and brain-related symptoms. They will be able to refer you to the right specialist who will diagnose your condition correctly and provide a further treatment plan.
Read More : A Concise Guide About Spinal Cord Compression
Spinal Compression Fractures
A compression fracture is caused due to loss or damage of bone mass due to aging or osteoporosis. A simple cough, sneeze or fall and lifting heavy objects can be the reason for spinal compression fracture. It is a painful condition that has symptoms like back pain, hunch in the posture, reduced height and pain in the arms and legs. The fracture will take time to heal.
You may be required to avoid activities like sports, exercise, bending, lifting, twisting until the fracture heals. Walking can improve the circulatory system that helps alleviate the symptoms. Majority of fractures will heal with reduced activity, pain medication and medication to increase bone density. A back brace will help minimize motion of the affected area during treatment. People can return to daily activity after the treatment. A few people with serious symptoms may require further treatment that can be a surgical procedure. The Best spine neurosurgeons in Chennai offer some of the best surgical and non surgical treatment for spine compression fracture.
Different Non-Surgical Treatment
If you can manage the prevailing condition, spinal compression fractures can be allowed to heal naturally. This may take about three months. With good pain medications, the pain mostly improves in a matter of days. Doctors may prescribe analgesic pain medicines and a combination of different medication that can relieve bone on bone, nerve pain and muscle. Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal drugs are pain relievers that can be bought over the counter.
Prolonged inactivity may have adverse effects but doctors may suggest bed rest for a few days. Wearing a back brace can limit the motion of fractured vertebrae and the spine. This will help reduce pain. Braces have to be inconvenient to be more effective. Elastic braces and corsets are comfortable to wear but may not work as intended. Excessive use of braces may result in weakening or loss of muscle. Bone strengthening drugs like bisphosphonate restore bone loss and stabilizes the bone to prevent further fractures.
Different Surgical Treatment
Surgical treatments are recommended when the severity of the symptoms do not reduce even after non surgical therapies. Surgical procedures include vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty, and spinal fusion surgery. These procedures use minimally invasive procedures and acrylic bone cement quickly hardens. It is quick, effective and requires short hospital stay. Vertebroplasty is most effective for relieving pain. This procedure helps stabilize fractures and the patient can go home the same day.
Kyphoplasty helps correct the bone deformity and relieves pain caused by spinal compression fracture. Patients show quick recovery and perform well in their daily activities. The procedure includes inserting a thin tube with a balloon at the tip. The balloon is deflated and removed and bone cement is injected. The cement hardens in 10 minutes. For conditions where one needs to eliminate motion between the two vertebrae, spinal fusion surgery is performed. It also relieves pain. The procedure connects two vertebrae in the correct position and avoids any movement until they grow or fuse together.
Read More : A Concise Guide About Spinal Cord Compression
Understanding The Pain Caused By Spinal Cord Compression
Your spinal cord is a delicate, intricate bundle of nerves that runs from the base of your neck down the entire back right till the base of your torso. Protecting the spinal cord is a stack of bones called the vertebrae. The muscles are connected to the nerves of the spinal cord that run from between the openings of each vertebrae.
When anything puts pressure on your spinal cord, it inadvertently compresses these nerves, causing numbness and nagging pain. This condition is termed Spinal Cord Compression.
Where does the pain occur?
The entire spine is divided into 3 parts:
.The cervical part that supports the neck with 7 vertebrae
Compression of the nerves can occur in any of the three parts.
What are the reasons ?
.One of the most common reasons is age and the gradual wear and tear of the muscles and vertebrae.
Diagnosing The Symptoms of Spinal Cord Compression
Unless accidents are the reason, gradual wear and tear will take years to bring about symptoms which are commonly characterized by :
.Pain and stiffness in the neck and back.
Some symptoms may be acute and they will require immediate medical attention. Pressure on the nerves of the lumbar region cause serious symptoms called Cauda Equina Syndrome which are characterized by:
.Loss of bowel and bladder control
What will the diagnosis reveal?
Spinal cord Compression can be diagnosed by X-rays, CT scan, MRI scan, Myelogram and Electromyography or EMG. Diagnoses will reveal bone growth called bone spurs that push against the spinal cord. They can also expose spinal tumors and abnormal alignment of the spine.
Remedy And Prevention Of Spinal Cord Compression
Accidental injuries, tumors and bone spurs cannot be prevented. However, wear and tear due to aging can be postponed by a few years if one takes to better lifestyle choices.
Regular exercising is the best option to keep the spine healthy and strong. You must also be mindful of your posture while sitting, standing or sleeping. The same applies when you lift and carry heavy objects.
Maintaining an ideal body weight coupled with an active lifestyle will be beneficial for more than just a healthy spine.
Treating spinal cord compression without delay
Sometimes, spinal cord compression will require the expertise of neurosurgeons, spinal neurosurgeons, ortho surgeons and general practitioners to diagnose and treat the condition. Depending on the severity of the condition treatment will vary from simple medication and physiotherapy to surgical procedures. Surgical procedures are the last resort except in cases of emergency like Cauda Equina syndrome.
One can manage spinal cord compression and keep it from getting worse by being aware of the condition and following the doctor’s advice and participating actively in the treatment process.
Read More : Are You Aware Of Spinal Cord Tumors?
Spinal Tumors: The Types And Causes That You Should Know
Medically a spinal tumor or spinal cord tumor is known as Intradural Tumor. But we will stick to calling it a spinal tumor just to make for an easy understanding. It can occur anywhere on the spinal cord- starting from within to the covering of the cord or the Dura. When it extends to the spine or vertebra, it is called a vertebral tumor.
There are two main types of spinal tumors:
They occur within the supporting cells of the spinal cord. Located within the substance of the spinal cord, they are quite rare. Gliomas, astrocytomas and ependymomas are examples of Intramedullary tumors of the spine.
2.Extramedullary spinal tumors:
These tumors develop in the membrane surrounding the spinal cord or in the nerve roots that extend from it. Depending on their size and location, they may cause spinal cord compression and affect the functioning of the spine. Meningiomas, schwannomas, nerve sheath tumors, and neurofibromas are some of the extramedullary spinal tumors.
. Tumors from other parts of the body that metastasize and spread to the vertebrae and the spinal cord.
What are the causes?
The reasons that cause a spinal tumor are as unclear as they are definitive. Genetics plays a big role. So do environmental factors and lifestyle choices. Some spinal tumors may occur due to Neurofibromatosis 2 and Von-Hippel Lindau Disease, both of which are inherited syndromes.
Symptoms Of The Secret Invaders
The onset of spinal tumors is mostly a silent and secret process. When the tumor pro gresses in size, it will start showing its presence through various symptoms:
. General weakness of the body which can be mild or severe.
The most common symptom is persistent back pain. It occurs more often and increases with intensity. Spinal tumors grow at different rates and symptoms manifest accordingly. It should also be noted that some tumors may be benign or non-cancerous but they will cause other problems.
Seeking Medical Help
When the symptoms ring enough warning bells, it is best to consult a doctor at the earliest. But not all back pains are symptoms of a tumor. There can be numerous other reasons too. But early diagnosis of spinal tumors is imperative as it gives more time to treat the problem.
Here are the symptoms that warrant immediate medical consultation:
. If the pain is unrelenting and progressive.
Early detection of spinal tumors is vital to prevent further damage to the spinal nerves that can lead to loss of function.