Degenerative spine symptoms can take a toll on your daily quality of life. Everyday movements like those involved in cooking, stretching, tying your shoes or gardening can become difficult and painful. While the discomfort of these symptoms may have become a reality that you face day after day, do you really know what is causing the pain, stiffness, numbness and weakness in your arms or legs? Do you feel that you can accurately describe these symptoms to your physician? Below is some information that can help you get to the bottom, and possibly the end, of your degenerative spine symptoms.
In adulthood, spine pain is often caused by a degenerative spine disease. Your spine is made up of a series of joints, ligaments, muscles, intervertebral discs and vertebrae. Both the joints and intervertebral discs contain cartilage that makes your neck and back movements smooth and comfortable. As you age, this cartilage begins to break down and become brittle, meaning it’s no longer able to sustain the impact of your body’s movements. The breakdown of disc cartilage is called degenerative disc disease, which causes conditions like herniated discs and bulging discs. The breakdown of joint cartilage is called degenerative spine arthritis, or osteoarthritis, which can lead to the development of a bone spur (which is the body’s way of protecting itself from the pain caused by arthritic joints rubbing against each other). If any spine degeneration causes the compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots, symptoms may be felt in the extremities.
Degenerative spine symptoms for any related condition vary from person to person, but can include:
- Degenerative disc disease – localized pain and radiating pain, tingling, numbness and weakness
- Degenerative spine arthritis – warm throbbing and tenderness, limited range of motion, diminished flexibility
Degenerative spine symptoms also can vary depending on which region of the spine is affected by nerve compression:
- Degenerative cervical spine – upper neck and back; may feel symptoms in neck, shoulders, arms and hands
- Degenerative thoracic spine – middle region of back; may feel symptoms around rib cage or lower body
- Degenerative lumbar spine – lower region of back; may feel symptoms in feet, buttocks, legs and tailbone
If you have talked with your physician about your symptoms and have been diagnosed with a degenerative spine disorder, your physician may recommend a non-surgical, conservative treatment routine that integrates mild exercise, hot and cold packs and/or pain medication. If non-surgical treatments fail to provide relief and your physician has suggested surgery, consider the procedures offered at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures have helped tens of thousands of people across the country and around the world to find relief from the symptoms of a degenerative spine. Contact us today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.