Have you been feeling slow lately? Has lifting objects become more of a chore? There are many causes for this, and some of them may involve your spine. If your problems are in fact related to your spine, it’s important to seek the help of an expert before the problem worsens. Let’s discuss orthopedic neurology, how orthopedists and neurologists can help with spine issues and other conditions, and where you can go in Kingsport, TN, to receive treatment from highly qualified orthopedists and neurologists.
Neurology And Orthopedics
Neurology is a branch of medicine that deals with problems in the brain, nerves, and spinal cord. Orthopedics, on the other hand, is the branch of medicine that treats problems that afflict bones and muscles.
In our bodies, the brain and nerves tell the muscles what to do, and the muscles do it. Because of how intertwined these systems are, neurology and orthopedic specialties can overlap. Both neurological and musculoskeletal conditions can lead to numbness, pain, and muscle problems. For instance, tight muscles can compress nerves, leading to nerve pain. On the other hand, damage to the spinal cord limits nerve signals from reaching the muscles, causing muscle pain and weakness. Together, neurology and orthopedics are important in identifying issues that affect both the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system.
Neurologists and Orthopedists Work Together
Healthcare providers with knowledge of orthopedics and neurology can identify complex problems affecting both nerves as well as muscles/bones. They may use several diagnostic tests to isolate the problem. For instance, they can identify which part of the spinal cord has a problem by observing the muscles. If the muscle does not respond correctly, it can point to an issue with the nerves that connect that muscle to the spinal cord. Let’s discuss three kinds of tests that may be used to diagnose these issues.
Movement tests are used to evaluate how well you can consciously move your muscles. Your healthcare provider will take note of their observations in a muscle grading chart. Muscle movement is graded on a scale of zero to five. A score of five means you can completely move that specific muscle against gravity and total resistance. Zero means that you are unable to contract your muscle at all.
Sensation tests are used to evaluate your ability to feel sensations such as light touch, temperature, and pain. Your provider may touch your skin with a cotton swab, or use a pin to gently prick the face, body, and limbs. The goal is to identify whether you feel a sensation and if it is even on both sides of your body.
They will then evaluate your sensations and record results on a dermatome diagram. This diagram shows areas of the body connected to a single spinal nerve.
They will label your responses to pain or touch as:
- Increased response
- Decreased response
- Altered response
- Absent response
Reflex tests are used to evaluate the health of nerves in the spinal cord and the health of motor nerves, or those responsible for moving muscles. Your doctor will use a reflex hammer to tap certain muscle areas to see how they react. They will also muscle on the right and left sides of the body to see if one side is weaker or different from the other. Your provider will then score each reflex as a normal, increased, or decreased reaction.
What Problems Does Orthopedic Neurology Identify?
Orthopedic neurology isolates parts of the spinal cord that causes conditions like the following:
- Hyperactive reflexes
- Decreased reflexes
- Loss of reflexes
- Decreased muscle strength
- Extreme pain or pressure in the back, neck, or head
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Loss of movement
- Loss of touch and pain
- Spastic paraplegia
These symptoms may be an indication of particular spinal problems, such as:
- Fractures in the spine
- Herniated disk
- Spinal infection
- Traumatic spinal injury
- Spinal stenosis
- Spinal tumor
Orthopedic And Neurological Services In Kingsport, TN
If you are suffering from any manner of back pain or loss of reflex and movement, don’t wait for it to get worse! Come and meet our board-certified orthopedic surgeons and neurologist at Associated Orthopaedics. We offer expert diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. We can help you if you experience damage to the hands, feet, knees, hips, shoulders, or elbows.