Conditions of the back and neck

Your spine includes the bones in your neck and back - a column of 33 bones or vertebrae and tissue that extends from your skull down to your pelvis. Trauma to the spine can lead to long-term nerve damage or disability. Dr. Poulter is a trained orthopedic surgeon to treat strains, disc disease, fractures and most other spinal conditions or injuries. He will lead you through neck and back surgery, when to get back surgery and back pain recovery.

Cervical Herniated Disc

A cervical disc herniation is when the soft material of the disc is pushed out onto a nerve in the neck muscles. A herniated cervical disc is most often caused by worsening changes that occur in the spine as we age or by an injury that causes a herniated or bulging intervertebral disc.


Cervical Fracture

A fracture, or break, in one of the cervical vertebrae, is commonly called a broken neck. A broken neck, or cervical fracture, can occur from a number of causes. Because of the proximity of the spinal cord and nerve roots, these injuries can have serious consequences and lead to chronic neck pain. 



Kyphosis, also referred to as either hunchback, flat back, round back or gibbus deformity, is an excessive curve of the spine noticeable when looking at the patient from the side and results in an exaggerated rounding of the upper back. Normally, there is a gentle curve but in kyphosis the curve is excessive.


Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is an accumulation of wear and tear of the flexible pad between your vertebrae called discs.  For most people, the term degenerative implies the symptoms will get worse with age. However, the term does not apply to the symptoms but describes the process of the disc degeneration over time. Disc degeneration is a common cause of low back and neck pain.


Lumbar Disc Herniation

A herniated disc in the back is when the soft material of a disc in the spine is pushed out onto a nerve. A herniated lumbar disc is when this occurs in the lower back. This may be when to see a surgeon for low back pain. The discs are the cushions between the bone of the spine that allow for motion between the bones. 

A herniated disc in the back is usually related to the natural aging of your spine. Additional risk factors include: being a male, improper lifting techniques, being overweight, repetitive activities that strain your spine, frequent driving, sedentary lifestyle and smoking.


Neck and Arm Pain

The neck is exposed to injury and disorders that cause significant pain and a stiff neck because it supports the weight of the head while also having a significant amount of motion. Pain that radiates down the arm may indicate a problem in the neck. Neck pain that is accompanied by arm and shoulder pain is usually caused by disc herniation, spinal stenosis, cervical myelopathy or cervical fracture.



Spondylolysis is a common cause of lower back pain and occurs when there is a crack or stress fracture in one of the vertebrae in the spinal column. It can occur in people of all ages but most often occurs in children and adolescents who participate in sports involving repeated stress on the lower back such as football, weightlifting and gymnastics.



Degenerative spondylolisthesis is a condition where the small joints between two bones of the low back have developed arthritis. In other words, they have worn out over time. This causes one bone to slide forward compared to the bone below. It most commonly occurs with the fourth lumbar vertebrae sliding forward on the fifth lumbar vertebrae and is more common in women than in men. It is a result of wear and tear over time and typically shows up when people are in their 50’s or older.  



Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine. Most cases are mild; however, as some children develop or adults age, spinal deformities can continue to get more severe.


Lumbar Stenosis

Lumbar stenosis is when the canal that carries the nerves through the lower back narrows. Common causes include bulging discs, herniated discs, arthritis, thickening of the ligament within the spine and a loss of spinal alignment with age. Lumbar spinal stenosis typically occurs as a result of aging and symptoms may develop slowly over time.

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The Ultimate Guide to Back Pain Relief cover

The Ultimate Guide to Back Pain Relief

Find out what's causing your back pain and how you can treat it with OrthoIndy's ultimate guide to healing back pain.

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