Symptoms occurring along the spine are frequently the consequence of muscular problems. Arthritis may lead to painful deformity of the joints of the spine. Scoliosis can produce severe deformities of the spine, as it twists and rotates. Spondylolisthesis can deform the spine forward. All can produce back pain.

Less commonly, herniated discs, can cause pain not only in the spine and extremities, but also lead to weakness and numbness of the legs or arms. Rheumatoid arthritis can produce severe problems of the back of the neck where it joins the skull. Auto accidents frequently damage various areas of the spine.

Anti-inflammatory drugs are quite helpful. Some of the best, Vioxx and Bextra, were removed from the market due to an increased risk of developing heart attacks with prolonged use. The remaining drugs, such as Celebrex, Mobic and Naprosyn may also produce beneficial results.

Spine surgery is often necessary to correct some of these problems. Recently, the release of lumbar artificial discs has become available for some patients.

Osteoporosis can produce collapse of the vertebra, with compression fractures. Attempts to prevent this with medications are now more common, using Fosamax, Actonel and other medications. Hormone replacement in women helps prevent osteoporosis.

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