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Flatback Syndrome

When the proper curves in the spine that support an economical stance requiring minimum energy to stand or walk fail, the result is a condition called Flatback syndrome.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms include having trouble maintaining a proper posture, low back pain and thigh pain. Since the person has trouble maintaining proper alignment, the symptoms might increase throughout the day due to fatigue. Patients might also have upper back and neck pain due to constantly trying to realign themselves. These symptoms can often develop to be very painful and leads some patients to having to take medications.

Causes

Flatback syndrome was originally used to describe Harrington rods recipients (1960s- early 1990s) due to the fact the rods sometimes flattened the normal sway of the spine.  This was due to the rods extending down into the lower part of the spine. The rods were unable to follow the natural curve of the lower back, which caused the spine to unnaturally straighten out. This unnatural movement helped advance the degeneration of discs in the spine. New advancements in modern scoliosis technology have been credited it making flatback syndrome a much less common problem.

Degenerative Disc Disease can contribute to the person having trouble maintaining upright posture. This disease is from normal wear on the intervertebral discs.

Other conditions that may cause flatback syndrome include having collapsed vertebrae. Arthritis can also contribute to flatback syndrome and cause inflammations in the spine, which may cause pain and stiffness.

Diagnosis

Most patients with flatback syndrome will complain of having trouble maintaining a standing upright posture. If the doctor determines you might have flatback syndrome, he or she will order a full-length X-ray of the spine. An MRI or CT scan might also be taken to help the doctor better understand the health of the spine and discs.

Treatment

Patients diagnosed with Flatback syndrome will initially be treated with an individualized physical therapy program and anti-inflammatory medication. If all non-surgical options have become exhausted, it may be necessary to perform surgery.


Maahir Haque, MD is recognized as a leader in the field of minimally invasive spine surgery. At Spine Group Orlando, Dr. Maahir Haque also provides second opinions for spine surgery and MRI reviews for those with back pain and neck pain. Dr. Haque emphasizes non-surgical options for back pain and neck pain where possible. This can include accessing a back pain specialist with expertise in pain-relieving spinal injections and spine therapists. Spine therapy can include back stretches that can be a future home remedy for back pain or neck pain. If spine surgery is necessary because of a herniated disc, spinal fracture, or spinal stenosis, Dr. Maahir Haque operates through tubular retractors that reduce the size of the incision, lessen blood loss, reduce time in the hospital, speed return to activity with a less painful recovery. This spine surgery expertise enables many patients to have outpatient spine surgery and be home the same day. Spine Group Orlando and Dr. Maahir Haque provides artificial disc replacement in the neck using the Mobi-C disc implant, the first FDA-approved disc for multiple levels in the neck. Prodisc-C is also used for artificial disc replacement in the cervical spine. Dr. Haque is also one of the few spine surgeons in Orlando, Florida to provide lumbar artificial disc replacement using the Prodisc-L artificial disc. Dr. Haque is also referred patients from across Orlando and north central Florida for artificial disc replacement surgery as an alternative to spinal fusion. Accordingly, Dr. Haque's patients travel from across north central Florida, including: Orlando; Jacksonville; Tallahassee; Lakeland; Gainesville; Tampa; Daytona Beach; and Cocoa Beach. The spine center, as a destination for medical tourism for some international patients from Mexico and the Caribbean, can provide recommendations to out-of-town patients on nearby hotels and tourist attractions.