Spine Archive: Axial Pain

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Cervical Cord Neurapraxia

When localized trauma is concentrated to the cervical spinal cord, this injury is referred to as neurapraxia. This trauma can be induced by over extension, flexion of a limb beyond it’s normal limits, or “head down” contact involving the head (often seen in football). The symptoms of neurapraxia typically last for a short time but can be persistent for two days or more.

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Low Back (Axial) Pain

Axial pain is referred to as pain that can de identified by a targeted location. This is different from radicular pain which is characterized by “shooting” pain that travels. Axial pain is often associated with low back pain. The discomfort can range from minimal to very intense with the feeling of sharp or dull pain. This pain can often be felt constantly or from time to time.

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Burst Fractures, Western NY

Spinal fractures are outlined further throughout our Knowledge Center.

Burst fractures result from axial compressive failure of the anterior and middle columns with either an intact or disrupted (compressive or tensile failure) posterior column.¹

¹Garfin MD, Steven. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update : Spine. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 1997.

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Sports Injuries, Erie County

The demands of sports such as football can lead to serious spine injuries. Contact Dr. Leone for more information.

The incidence of cervical spine injuries in football players has been estimated to range from 10% to 15%. Lineman, defensive ends, and linebackers who perform a lot of tackling are at greater risk for these injuries. When cervical injuries do occur, the most likely mechanism is from flexion and axial loading of the neck. Until the injured player is brought to the emergency room, all pads and the helmet should be left on because significant alterations in cervical alignment can occur during removal of the protective equipment.¹

¹Garfin MD, Steven. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update : Spine. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 1997.

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Thoracic Disk Herniations, Erie Co.

Learn more from Dr. Leone regarding disk herniations here in the Knowledge Center.

Thoracic disk herniations (TDH) have been found in up to 11% of presumed asymptomatic individuals in autopsy studies. TDH can be symptomatic, however, causing axial pain, radicular pain, or even myelopathy. Patients may give a history of trauma, such as axial load or automobile accident.¹

¹Garfin MD, Steven. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update : Spine. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 1997.

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Axial Pain

Occasionally patients will complain of central thoracic pain without any radicular component. In the upper thoracic spine this pain may be related to cervical spine pathology or shoulder girdle dysfunction, as has already been discussed. In the absence of cervical or shoulder etiology and without a frank thoracic disc herniation, intrinsic thoracic disc pain is a possibility. Thoracic discography has been shown to be a safe provocative test of pain in the thoracic spine and is the only objective means of identifying the level of discogenic pathology.

¹Abitbol MD, Jean-Jacques. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update: Spine. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2002.