5 doctors weighed in:

Could spina bifida be causing my back pain? My doctor took x-rays of my spine and says I have a kind of spina bifida. Could that be what’s causing my pain? I’m 26. I thought spina bifida was a birth defect?

5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Donald Kucharzyk
Orthopedic Surgery
2 doctors agree

In brief: Not normally

Spina bifida can be seen at birth but it sounds like yours is a bifid spine which is the appearance of the spinous process having a bifid appearance.
Classically this does not produce back pain and is found at times only when x-rays are taken. The source of your pain can be from other areas of your spine and require further work up, clinical examination and imaging studies and then treatment begun.

In brief: Not normally

Spina bifida can be seen at birth but it sounds like yours is a bifid spine which is the appearance of the spinous process having a bifid appearance.
Classically this does not produce back pain and is found at times only when x-rays are taken. The source of your pain can be from other areas of your spine and require further work up, clinical examination and imaging studies and then treatment begun.
Dr. Donald Kucharzyk
Dr. Donald Kucharzyk
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1 doctor agrees

In brief: Spina

Spina bifida covers a wide range of spinal disorders, which are all birth defects.
The spine and spinal cord essentially form as a flat plate during gestation, then fold over into a tube before birth. This process starts at the top of the spine and proceeds down towards the base of the spine, like a zipper closing. Spina bifida refers to any interruption of this process, and is more common in the lower areas of the spine. The most severe form is a myelomeningocele, where portions of the nerves and possibly spinal cord are outside of the body. The most minor form is spina bifida occulta, where the only finding is a failure of the lower sacral bones to form a tube. This is typically found on an x-ray of the spine, and often is asymptomatic. However, even spina bifida occulta can cause pain. In a patient with spina bifida with pain, the next step is often an MRI to look at the nerves of the back to see if there are any associated problems. It is possible to have an assocated tethered cord, lipomeningocele, etc... (all other abnormalities of the base of the spine and spinal cord). Depending on where your pains are, what other complaints you may have, what your examination and imaging shows, there may be some treatments possible to help.

In brief: Spina

Spina bifida covers a wide range of spinal disorders, which are all birth defects.
The spine and spinal cord essentially form as a flat plate during gestation, then fold over into a tube before birth. This process starts at the top of the spine and proceeds down towards the base of the spine, like a zipper closing. Spina bifida refers to any interruption of this process, and is more common in the lower areas of the spine. The most severe form is a myelomeningocele, where portions of the nerves and possibly spinal cord are outside of the body. The most minor form is spina bifida occulta, where the only finding is a failure of the lower sacral bones to form a tube. This is typically found on an x-ray of the spine, and often is asymptomatic. However, even spina bifida occulta can cause pain. In a patient with spina bifida with pain, the next step is often an MRI to look at the nerves of the back to see if there are any associated problems. It is possible to have an assocated tethered cord, lipomeningocele, etc... (all other abnormalities of the base of the spine and spinal cord). Depending on where your pains are, what other complaints you may have, what your examination and imaging shows, there may be some treatments possible to help.
Dr. Neill M. Wright, Md
Dr. Neill M. Wright, Md
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