Degenerative spine specialist
A degenerative spine specialist is a term for a physician who can offer more specialized treatment for degenerative spine conditions. As part of the natural aging process, spinal anatomy — especially the joints and discs — can wear down over time. The discs that cushion the spinal vertebrae can lose water content and become weak. Ligaments can begin to thicken. The spinal joints can lose stability as the cartilage deteriorates.
This degeneration happens to everyone and is not always painful, but debilitating symptoms can develop if a loss of spinal stability leads to the compression or irritation of the spinal cord or adjacent nerve roots. Patients can experience pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness, which can get in the way of quality time with your family, your job and the activities you enjoy.
Types of degenerative spine specialists
After your primary care doctor makes an initial diagnosis of spinal degeneration, he or she will typically first begin treatment with basic conservative options like over-the-counter medication, moderate exercise, hot and cold compresses and periods of rest. If symptoms do not improve after a period of time, you may be referred to a degenerative spine specialist for further evaluation and treatment of the underlying condition. Specialists who are commonly consulted include:
- Orthopedic surgeon — specializes in surgery to treat problems related to the musculoskeletal system, including degenerative spine conditions
- Neurologist — specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the nervous system
- Neurosurgeon — specializes in the surgical treatment of disorders of the nervous system
- Rheumatologist — specializes in the nonsurgical treatment of disorders affecting the joints, particularly arthritis
- Chiropractor — uses manual adjustments to treat disorders of the spine and the associated symptoms
Surgery is usually considered when conservative options have been fully exhausted. Specialists may recommend a patient attempt a course of physical therapy and a series of epidural steroid injections, among other treatments, before he or she is considered a potential surgical candidate.
Laser Spine Institute
If you have been recommended for surgery but are anxious about the large incision, overnight hospitalization, risk of complication and long recovery time involved with traditional surgery, reach out to Laser Spine Institute. Our team of board-certified orthopedic spine surgeons and neurosurgeons+ specialize in minimally invasive spine surgery that only requires a less than 1-inch incision and an outpatient procedure.
Learn more by reaching out to our dedicated team of Patient Empowerment Consultants today for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.