Spina Bifica: back pain?


Q: I have spina bifida occulta and have had moderate to severe pain in my lower back every single day for the past 7 years.At first i thought it was my kidneys because the area with most of the pain is to the left and right of the spina bifida. My neck is also extremely stiff and painful to move. It has been 4 years since i have seen a doctor he performed many test on me including lab work, over several visits. However he was unable to find a solution for my pain. I have only taken over the counter meds such as aleve and ibuprofen. My question is ...do you believe spina bifida occulta can create pain later in life? I am a 44 year old male and have had everyday pain since i was 37.


A:    Spina bifida (“cleft spine”) is a birth defect affecting the spinal column. Spina bifida progresses from a cleft, or splitlike opening, in the back part of the backbones (the spinal vertebrae). In more severe cases, it involves the spinal cord. Spina bifida is the most common of a group of birth defects known as neuraltube defects, which affect the brain and spinal cord. Spina bifida begins in the womb, when the tissues that fold to form the neural tube do not close or do not stay closed completely. This causes an opening in the vertebrae, which surround and protect the spinal cord. This occurs just a few weeks (21 to 28 days) after conception—usually before the woman knows that she is pregnant. In your case most likely you might have a Spina Bifida “Occulta” (means hidden), and the defect is not visible. Spina bifida occulta is rarely linked with complications or symptoms as you described , meaning chronic back pain. Spina bifida occulta is usually discovered accidentally when the person has an X-Rays or MRI for some other reason. It is probably the most common type of spina bifida.

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