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UF Health Shands Hospital is ranked as one of the region’s top locations in orthopaedic care. We feel incredibly privileged to have the trust of so many patients looking to move past their musculoskeletal issues. The UF Health Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute has a devoted focus on all areas, including those related to the spine.


Common orthopaedic-related causes of pain based on this particular body part include the following:


The severity of spinal fractures lays on a wide spectrum, from those caused by devastating injuries that warrant emergency treatment to those that develop over time because of weakened bones affected by osteoporosis.

The most common location for spinal fractures is either in the thoracic region (midback) or lumbar region (lower back) or at the thoracolumbar junction, which is the meeting point between the two. When it comes to these areas, there are three major types of fracture patterns: extension, flexion and rotation. These patterns play a big factor in the treatment plan that is devised for spinal fractures in those regions.

Herniated (slipped) disk

A herniated disk, sometimes called a slipped or ruptured disk, regularly occurs in the lower back. A disk begins to protrude, or herniate, when the center of the disk (nucleus pulposus) begins to press against the outer thing that surrounds it (annulus fibrosus).

The reason for this protrusion can be wear and tear (disk degeneration) or a sudden injury, and it can be the culprit for pain in the lower back. The chance also exists for this disk to push all the way through the outer ring, causing leg pain. Surgery is required only for a small portion of patients with lumbar disk herniation.

Infection of the spine

Infections in the spine are rare, but they can be found in numerous areas: intervertebral disk space, vertebral bones, spinal canal or adjacent soft tissues. An infection of the intervertebral disk is referred as diskitis, while an infection of the vertebral bones is known as osteomyelitis.

While spinal infections can be caused by a few things, they are often bacterial and make their way to the spine via the bloodstream. Most spinal infections are treated with a mix of intravenous (IV) antibiotic medications, bracing and rest.

Spinal cord injuries

Spinal cord injuries can arise in any section of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal. An injury to the spine can carry dramatic affects to the body and its functions. When determining the severity of a spinal injury, two things are assessed: the neurological level and the completeness.

The neurological level is judged by the lowest point at which your spinal cord is functioning normally. The completeness is classified as complete if there’s total loss of feeling and ability to control movement below the spinal cord injury. If that isn’t the case, it is deemed incomplete.


Scoliosis is characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine. In the case of many who are diagnosed with scoliosis, the cause is unknown and is labeled idiopathic scoliosis. There are two other types of scoliosis: congenital scoliosis (present at birth) and neuromuscular scoliosis (nervous system complication that affects the muscles).

Before treating scoliosis, variables are considered such as the cause of the condition, location of the curvature, size of the curvature and whether the patient’s body is still growing. Gender is a risk factor as scoliosis is most frequently seen in girls.

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord, or a narrowing of the openings where spinal nerves leave the spinal column. Although this condition has several potential causes, spinal stenosis generally occurs as a person ages and in relation to osteoarthritis.

The two main types of spinal stenosis generally occur in the upper back (cervical stenosis) or lower back (lumbar stenosis). Depending on the severity, treatments can come in the form of physical therapy, back pain relief medicines like an epidural or maybe surgery.

Spinal tumor

Spinal cord tumors are categorized in a few ways, one of which is based on where they’re located relative to the protective membranes of the spinal cord. The three most common types of spinal tumors: extradural (vertebral column), extramedullary (outside spinal cord) and intramedullary (within the spinal cord).

The focus when treating spinal tumors is reducing or preventing nerve damage caused by pressure, or compression, on the spinal cord. Quick treatment is needed to avoid permanent damage, especially if symptoms present themselves rapidly. Methods to manage spinal tumors include physical therapy, corticosteroids, chemotherapy/radiation and emergency surgery.

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