Is your back hurting? You’re in good company. In any 3-month period, about 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has at least one day of back pain, mostly in the lower back. The back is a complicated structure. Its center is the spine, which is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae, stacked in a column. The nerves of the spinal cord run in a tunnel through the middle of those bones. Spongy discs between the vertebrae act as cushions. Ligaments and tendons hold everything together. A lot of things can go wrong with your back. A strained muscle
What is fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia is a long-lasting disorder that causes pain and tenderness throughout the body. It also can cause you to feel overly tired (fatigue) and have trouble sleeping. Doctors do not fully understand what causes fibromyalgia, but people with the disorder are more sensitive to pain.
What is epidermolysis bullosa? Epidermolysis bullosa is a group of rare diseases that cause fragile skin that leads to blisters and tearing. Tears, sores, and blisters in the skin happen when something rubs or bumps the skin. They can appear anywhere on the body. In severe cases, blisters may also develop inside the body. The symptoms of the disease usually begin at birth or during infancy and range from mild to severe.
Two new studies funded in part by NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) describe efforts to develop stem cell-based approaches for treating Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare, genetic skin disease. The findings, which were published jointly in the journal, Science Translational Medicine, may lead to individualized therapies for EB, and possibly other genetic diseases. People with EB have skin that is so fragile that the slightest friction causes blisters. The severity of the disease ranges from limited tearing of skin on the hands and feet to widespread blistering and scarring, including mucosal surfaces like the
What is ankylosing spondylitis? Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes inflammation in certain parts of the spine. Over time, this inflammation in the joints and tissues of the spine can cause stiffness. In severe cases, this may cause the bones in the spine to grow together, which can lead to a rigid spine that is difficult to bend. Many people with ankylosing spondylitis have mild episodes of back pain and stiffness that come and go. But others have severe, ongoing back pain and stiffness. Other symptoms also may develop if other areas of the body are affected
What is spinal stenosis? Spinal stenosis happens when the spaces in the spine narrow and create pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that comes out of the base of the brain and runs down the center of the spine. The nerve roots branch out from the cord. In spinal stenosis, the narrowing usually occurs over time.
What is gout? Gout is a type of arthritis that causes pain and swelling in your joints, usually as flares that last for a week or two, and then go away. Gout flares often begin in your big toe or a lower limb. Gout happens when high levels of a substance called serum urate build up in your body. When this happens, needle-shaped crystals form in and around the joint. This leads to inflammation and arthritis of the joint. However, many people with high levels of serum urate will not develop gout. With early diagnosis, treatment, and lifestyle changes, gout
What is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. This increases your risk of broken bones (fractures). Osteoporosis is a “silent” disease because you may not have symptoms. You may not even know you have the disease until you break a bone. Breaks can occur in any bone but happen most often in: Hip bones. Vertebrae in the spine. Wrist. You can take steps to help prevent osteoporosis and broken bones by: Doing weight-bearing exercises, such as walking or dancing, and lifting weights. Not drinking too much alcohol. Quitting smoking, or not starting if
Musculoskeletal conditions like spinal stenosis and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in the knee affect people of all ages and can be debilitating. Recently reported long-term data from two large-scale studies funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases provide clinically valuable insights into the outcomes associated with treatments for these common, and sometimes costly, orthopaedic problems. Benefits of surgery for spinal stenosis diminish over time Data from the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT) suggest that patients with severe low back pain caused by common spinal conditions who undergo surgery initially have