What is it?

Spinal instability describes a greater-than-normal range of motion between two vertebrae, resulting from a disc degenerating to the point that it becomes unable to support the weight of the body through that portion of the spine. It can increase the risk of spinal arthritis and the development of bone spurs. Any spinal injury is serious, so it’s important to know what can cause spinal instability and how Hampton Roads Orthopaedics Spine & Sports Medicine can treat the condition.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Lumbar instability

Signs & symptoms

* Patient’s medical history and lifestyle
* MRI and CT scans
* X-ray images, which can study changes in the bone structure
* A spinal probe, which can re-create conditions that are likely to cause pain


* Severe pain in the back when lifting objects, bending and straightening the spine
* Muscle spasms
* Numbness in the arms and lower extremities
* Pain radiating down the legs and buttocks, especially if it affects one side of the body more than the other


* Physical therapy can help treat mild cases of spinal instability by strengthening the muscles in the spine
* Prescription painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines
* Microdiscectomy- a surgical procedure that removes the intervertebral disc impinging on the spinal nerve
* Spinal fusion- fusing two or more vertebrae to prevent movement between them and improve the stability of the spine

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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