Flatback Syndrome is a condition in which the lower region of the spin loses its normal curvature and creates a front-to-back imbalance in the spine. Under normal circumstances, the spine has normal front to back curves, the lumbar spine has a curve known as lordosis. While the thoracic spine an outward facing, kyphotic curve, and the cervical spine also has a lordosis curve. These curves work in relation to each other to keep the body’s center of gravity aligned over the hips and pelvis.
In a case where the lumbar lordosis is lost, and the center of gravity is pushed too far forward, this is known flat back syndrome.
Causes of Flatback Syndrome
Flatback syndrome has a number of different possible causes, including:
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Compression Fractures
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Post Laminectomy Syndrome
- Following a poorly healed spinal fusion or laminectomy surgery.
Some of the more prominent symptoms of flat back syndrome include:
- Chronic Pain
- Difficulty Standing Upright
- Loss of Normal Spinal Curvature
- Sciatica – Lower back and leg pain.
- Spinal Stenosis – The narrowing of the spinal canal area, which causes nerve & spinal compression.
For the most part, patients are treated without surgery.
Non-Surgical Options include:
- Physical Therapy
- Medication – Anti-Inflammatory drugs, pain relievers, used in conjunction.
Surgical options to treat flat back syndrome should be considered a last resort. These surgical methods include:
- Osteotomy or Pedicle Subtraction Surgery – The surgeon removed the bone from the back of the lumbar spinal column, in order to realign the bones and add the needed lordosis curve.
- Spinal Fusion – Once the lordosis is reintroduced, in order to strengthen the spine, spinal fusion surgery must be performed.
- Spinal Instrumentation – In addition to spinal fusion, another means of strengthening the spine, is to use screws, rods, plates and other instrumentation.
For more information on flat back syndrome, other spinal issues, or to schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Arutyunyan today.