spinal disorders

Diseases of the spine are extremely diverse in their causes and manifestations. The most common spinal diseases occur due to age due to increased wear or through long-term stress. In addition, there are also some congenital or acute diseases.
Here is a classification and listing of the most common spinal diseases.

Below you will find the most important diseases related to the spine, ordered by:

  1. Degenerative diseases of the spine
  2. Inflammatory spinal disorders
  3. Congenital spinal disorders
  4. Changes in the spinal column shape
  5. Spinal injuries due to fractures

Degenerative spinal disorders

disc prolapse

In a disc herniation, tissue of the disc enters the spinal canal where the spinal cord is located. This can cause irritation of the nerve roots to severe pain, paralysis and / or emotional disorders.
Lumbar disc herniations are most common in the lumbar spine.

Spinal Stenosis

The spinal canal stenosis causes a narrowing of the spinal canal, in which the spinal cord and the nerve roots are located. The constriction can lead to feelings of numbness, numbness and discomfort due to pressure on the nerves.
In addition, severe restrictions of the muscular apparatus occur at the affected site.

  • Spinal Stenosis
  • OP of a spinal canal stenosis

Spondylolisthesis - spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis can either be age-related or congenital. In the case of congenital spondylolisthesis there is an interruption of the vertebral arch. This leads to the instability of the vertebral bodies with each other.
In contrast, the vertebral arch is not pathologically disrupted in the degenerative form of the disease. Nevertheless, instability also occurs here - this time triggered by wear on the intervertebral disc. Excessive strain on the intervertebral discs can cause a reduction in height, which ultimately causes instability.

Spondylarthrosis - facet syndrome

In spondylarthrosis or the so-called facet syndrome, there is an advanced wear of the small joints between the vertebrae.
Spondylarthrosis can either occur independently as a major disease, but can only be triggered by other spinal disorders.
The wear of the joint also affects the articular surfaces and joint capsules. As a result, joint fluid can escape and ignite the joint capsule.


An age-related strong wear of the intervertebral discs increases the pressure on the vertebral bodies immensely. In response to this increased pressure, the body forms outgrowths ( osteophytes ) to spread the pressure over a larger area.
These outgrowths eventually cause the severe pain of the spine associated with osteochondrosis.

Inflammatory spinal disorders

Spondylitis ankylopoetica - Bekhterev's disease

Bechterew's disease is one of the most common chronic inflammatory rheumatoid diseases.
The inflammatory processes occur predominantly on the spine and its joints. Especially in the later course, however, you will find them on other joints and organs throughout the body.
The inflammation can eventually lead to the stiffening of the spine with appropriate movement restrictions.


In the clinical picture of spondylodiscitis, there is a bacterial inflammation of a vertebral body and the adjacent intervertebral disc.
By far the most common cause of infection is the so-called Staphylococcus aureus.
A distinction is made between the removal of bacteria in the vertebral body and the intervertebral disc via the bloodstream in the context of blood poisoning, the self-inflicted inflammation by a spinal surgery

Congenital spinal disorders

Morbus Baastrup

Baastrup's disease is a pain syndrome commonly found in the lumbar region, which is triggered by touching spinous processes of the vertebrae.
The approach of the spinous processes causes irritation of the surrounding muscles and ligaments.
In addition, it comes at the contact points of the spinous processes to bone, cartilage and Gelenkneubildungen.

Klippel-Feil syndrome

Klippel-Feil syndrome is one of the rare congenital spinal disorders. Predominantly in the area of ​​the cervical spine, adhesions occur.
However, the syndrome may well be associated with other malformations.
The severity of the syndrome is extremely different and can be completely harmless and barely visible, or it can be associated with severe malformations.

KiSS syndrome

The so-called KiSS syndrome (head joint-induced symmetry disorder) is a malposition of the two upper vertebrae. These vertebrae connect the head with the spine. Therefore, it comes through the syndrome to a malposition.
The KiSS syndrome is not recognized by conventional medicine for lack of evidence of the existence of the syndrome. Likewise, the statutory health insurance does not recognize the KiSS syndrome, so that the cost of a therapy must be paid privately.

Changes in the spinal column shape


Scoliosis is a deformation of the spine to the side. In addition to the bending, vertebrae twist.
If the spine is still in the growth phase, the deformation can worsen considerably within a very short time.
In the case of mild forms of scoliosis, treatment may not be necessary in some cases, but should it occur more seriously, it should be treated in order to minimize damage to health as far as possible.

Morbus Forestier

The so-called Morus Forestier causes ossification and proliferation of the vertebral bodies. For a long time, these new ossifications even bridge the intervertebral disc spaces, resulting in increased movement restrictions and stiffening.
Although no real cause of the disease is known, but above average number of patients with metabolic diseases such as gout or diabetes mellitus also suffers from Forestier's disease.

Scheuermann's disease

Scheuermann's disease is the most common spinal cord change in the growth phase, which mostly affects the thoracic spine.
In the disease, growth disorders occur on the Wibelkörpern, through which it comes to changes in the vibration of the spine.
Typically, the disease begins in adolescence and succumbs in young adulthood.

Spinal injuries due to fractures

vertebral fracture

A vertebral fracture results in the fracture of a vertebral body of the spine.
The fracture can either be traumatic due to an accident or be due to osteoporosis.
In the worst case, breakage can cause spinal cord injury.

Pain on the spine

Pain in the spine is a very common problem that plagues many people throughout their lives. The pain can in principle occur on the entire length of the spine, but in some areas, they appear preferred. Also the accompanying symptoms and pain limitations vary with the location of the pain. If the cervical spine is affected by pain, this represents a major limitation in everyday life. Rotations, flexions and dilations in the cervical spine are permanent. The neck has an extremely high mobility and with each looking around, the cervical spine moves unconsciously. In pain, all these movements are limited and the neck may need to be stabilized with the help of a neck brace. When nerves are involved in discomfort of the cervical spine, the pain along the course of the nerve can radiate to the arms and fingers.

By far the most commonly affected pain in the spine, is the lumbar spine ( see also : back pain of the lumbar spine). It is a common site of chronic low back pain that can be triggered by a variety of causes. It may include herniated discs, ISG blockades, degenerative changes and many other diseases behind it. The pain can be transmitted to the buttocks, legs and toes if there is nerve involvement. In particular, heavy lifting, general lack of movement and muscle weakness are responsible for the frequent pain in the lumbar region.

Stefan A. Mindea, MD, on Spinal Disorders (February 2020).

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