Pain syndrome located in the upper neck or back of the head caused by irritation of the occipital nerve. Treatment can consist of medication therapies, or lesioning of the nerve (either by cutting it or by heating it). Appropriate investigations should be performed to rule out other causes of pain from that region.
Osteoporotic Vertebral Compression Fracture
Osteoporosis results in the progressive mineral loss from the bone and changes within the bony architecture, leaving the bones weakened structurally and therefore more subject to fractures. The vertebral bodies, as a major load bearing structure, are particularly prone to fracture. Vertebral compression fractures secondary to osteoporosis usually occur after minor trauma or spontaneously.
Neurodegenerative disorder caused by the loss of cells that produce a chemical called dopamine. The hallmark of Parkinson's disease is a resting tremor, slowness of movement (bradykinesia), and limb rigidity. Most patients respond to medical therapy but over time the disease can advance. Surgical treatments for Parkinson's disease include brain lesioning (thalamotomy or pallidotomy), deep brain stimulation and new approaches such as experimental transplantation.
The pineal gland is a small structure in the middle of the brain. Primitive tumors can grow in this region often related to developmental body cells (germ cells). Tumors such as germinomas or non-germanomatous germ cell tumors can cause headaches, hydrocephalus or other neurologic symptoms. Treatments can consist of open resection, endoscopic biopsy, stereotactic biopsy, radiation therapy, focused radiation and chemotherapy. Because different tumors can occur in this area, it is important to guide treatment based upon the individual tumor type.
A benign tumor. A pituitary gland, responsible for secretion of hormones, can form a tumor. A pituitary adenoma can cause an over secretion of hormones and cause problems such as acromegaly (growth hormone hypersecretion), Cushing's disease (corticosteroid hormone hypersecretion). Prolactinoma refers to a tumor that over secretes prolactin. This often leads to galactorrhea (secretion of milk from breast tissue). If a tumor grows to a large size, it can cause a compression of the optic system leading to visual deficits. Treatments can consist of surgical resection, either through the nose (transsphenoidal surgery) or through the cranium, or radiation approaches.
The irritation of a nerve root at any level of the spine. Radiculopathy can be caused by protrusion of a disk, by arthritis of the spine or by compression from an offending tumor or other process. Radiculopathies can cause pain or neurologic deficits.
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (causalgia)
Pain syndrome often after prior limb injury. The painful limb becomes cold and often associated with increased sweating. Certain medications can help but in some patients, an operation called sympathectomy may be necessary.
Overgrowth (tumor) of Schwann cells. Schwann cells are responsible for providing the insulation (myelin) for nerves. Schwannomas can occur in the brain, the spine, or the limbs (peripheral nerves). A common brain schwannoma is the vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma), which can lead to hearing loss. Multiple schwannomas can be seen in the setting of neurofibromatosis type 1. Treatment often consists wither of a surgical resection or irradiation.
An electrical brain disturbance that leads to a convulsion or other transient neurologic problem. Some seizures may consist only of staring spells. Other can consist of temporary smells or tastes. Other seizures can involve jerking limb movements or numbness. An investigation should be performed to try to identify the cause of the seizures. Medication therapy may be necessary in some patients and occasionally surgery is performed to relieve the seizure focus.
A shunt system is used to divert cerebral spinal fluid from the brain to another body compartment. This is usually used to treat hydrocephalus. Shunts can be used to divert fluid from the cerebral ventricles to the abdomen (ventricular peritoneal shunt) or to the chest (ventricular pleural shunt).
Fractures of the skull bone (cranium) can occur after mild or severe head injury. A skull fracture may be associated with no symptoms or a mild headache. Other factors can be followed by concussion syndromes or more severe brain injury. An open skull fracture is one in which the overlying skin has also been opened up. A depressed skull fracture is when one of the bony fragments is compressing the brain structures.
Involuntary muscle tightness and stiffness that occurs in about two-thirds of people with cerebral palsy and in many who suffer severe head injuries. The medical definition of dystonia is a velocity-dependent, increased resistance to passive muscle stretch. In other words, when a muscle affected by spasticity is stretched by someone else, it is harder to move the muscle than normal, and the faster one pushes, the harder the muscle is to move.