We all look forward to “kicking our shoes off” in the summertime. We can close our eyes and imagine the sun rising over the water, and the warm breeze on our toes. Ladies run around in their cute sandals and men in their flip flops. We all long for the freedom of childhood but sometimes we forget “the rest of the story.”
““Summertime Blues” – Common Summertime Foot Injuries”

Spinal deformity is the presence of an abnormal curvature of the spine. This may present as either an “S” shaped curve noticeable from behind the patient or a “C” shaped curvature noticeable from the side of the patient, sometimes referred to as a “roundback” deformity or “hump.”

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is the S-Shaped curvature seen from a person’s back. It is sometimes associated with a tilted shoulder or prominent shoulder blade or rib hump. It is most commonly seen in adolescent females, around the pubertal growth spurt (age 10-14). The problem is that the condition is usually painless in its early phase and is not visibly detectable, so it eludes diagnosis. That is why it must be screened at either school, the pediatrician’s, or family doctor’s office. If undetected, the spinal curvature may progress to surgical proportions, disallowing any other treatment options.


“Spinal Deformity: Young and Not-So-Young”

This is a surprisingly common refrain from parents of young female athletes, particularly soccer and basketball players. Are these girls really more likely than boys to tear their ACL? It turns out the answer is yes. The two obvious follow-up questions are: 1) Why?  2) Is there anything we can do about it?

The ACL or anterior cruciate ligament is a band of tissue that connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone). When the ACL is torn, it is unable to heal on its own, leaving the knee unstable. If left untreated, many athletes will have knee problems right away. Many others will develop problems over time.
“OH NO! MY DAUGHTER TORE HER ACL!”

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy is the most common spinal cord disorder in people over the age of 55. Myelopathy (my·e·lop·a·thy) is deterioration of the spinal cord. Myelopathy caused by spinal arthritis and degenerative disks (spondylosis) is called cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Myelopathy is essentially a slow and insidious spinal cord injury.

Of all the spinal conditions that I treat, myelopathy is the most likely to be previously misdiagnosed. Cervical and lumbar radiculopathy (radiating arm or leg pain from a pinched nerve) and lumbar stenosis with neurogenic claudication (pain in the low back and buttocks from a narrow spinal canal) are often accurately diagnosed and have been treated with appropriate nonoperative interventions prior to being referred to a spine surgeon. Patients with cervical myelopathy, on the other hand, often present with vague complaints and have not been accurately diagnosed. Some “vague” complaints include:
“Cervical Myelopathy: A Slow and Insidious Spinal Cord Injury”