Children can have spine related problems that interfere in their mobility and growth. The birth defects are often visible at birth, and need immediate attention for surgical closure. Older children may have spinal infection, most common being tuberculosis. These children can have a fixed, immobile neck. Spinal deformity can also be observed.
Young adults are in the most productive phase of their lives, placing a lot of stress and strain on their spines. Spinal injuries are the most devastating injuries, that can drop the fortunes, bank balance and resources of the family. Caring for a young, immobile patient puts tremendous physical, psychological and financial strain on the family resources.
Degenerative diseases of the spine are part and parcel of human life. Backache is a universal symptom, and most of us have suffered backache in life. Prolapsed discs (‘slipped discs’), spinal malalignment (‘spondylolisthesis’) and narrowing os spinal canal causing pressure on nerves (canal stenosis) are common problems that require medical attention. These disorders are often accepted with fortitude and suffered silently. However, most of these conditions can be successfully cured with appropriate treatment that may include surgery and physiotherapy.
Spinal tuberculosis can be seen in adults, and is a curable condition, with or without surgery. Constant backache with or without weakness of the limbs should never be ignored, and should be investigated expeditiously.
Spinal tumours are unusual, and majority of them are benign. Often these require limited surgery. However, spine is frequently site of secondary cancer (cancer spreading from some other organ), and this requires detailed investigations and appropriate treatment, which includes medical and surgical management.