The spine is designed to protect the spinal cord from external damage and infection while being flexible enough to move in almost any direction you choose. The adult spine stretches from the base of the skull to the tailbone, or coccyx, containing 24 separate vertebrae with cartilage between each one. A child’s spine has 33 vertebrae and no coccyx. That forms later in adolescence. The spine is surrounded by muscles, connective tissues, and nerves.

When the movement of the spine becomes rigid and painful, that is a clear sign that something is wrong. It might just be a pulled muscle, but it could also be a pinched nerve or degenerative disc disease. Poor posture during movements, wear and tear, and degenerative disease, such as arthritis, can also cause the spinal structures to break down and add pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. Only a small percentage of people with back and neck pain need spine surgery. It takes advanced skill and extensive training to be able to diagnose spine conditions because they often cause radiating pain throughout the limbs that can disguise the true cause. Some common spine conditions include neck pain, sciatica, low back pain, and pinched nerves.

Many spine conditions respond well to non-surgical treatments such as rest, medication, and exercises to strengthen muscles that help support the spine. Some conditions also respond well to therapeutic injections aimed at reducing nerve inflammation, a frequent cause of back and neck pain, as well as pain radiating down one or more extremities. At Gwinnett Orthopedics, we have certified and fellowship-trained spine surgeons who can find the cause of your spine pain and provide the necessary treatment to relieve and manage your pain.