Degenerative spine conditions — part of the natural aging process

Degenerative spine conditions occur as a result of the natural aging process. As we age, our bodies go through changes that make them less able to withstand the wear and tear we go through every day. These changes can particularly affect the spine since it supports so much of the body’s weight while remaining flexible enough for movement.

Examples of degenerative conditions in the spine

Many age-related spinal conditions are associated with degenerative disc disease, a spine condition that can occur as we get older. Spinal discs are positioned between each of our vertebrae to provide cushion and absorb impact. The cartilage on the outside of these discs becomes weaker as we age and the jellylike center can lose water content, leading to conditions associated with degenerative disc disease such as collapsed, bulging and herniated discs. Since our spinal discs are responsible for keeping our vertebrae in the proper position, degenerative disc disease can cause vertebrae to move too closely together and the nerves in our spine to become compressed.

Other degenerative conditions that can lead to increased pressure on spinal nerve roots and the spinal cord include:

  • Spinal stenosis. This condition occurs when the spinal canal becomes constricted. It is often caused by bone spurs, bulging or herniated discs and shifted vertebrae.
  • Osteoarthritis. Our joints are cushioned by cartilage, which deteriorates as we age. This deterioration is known as osteoarthritis. A number of symptoms are the result, including pain and stiffness in the spine when the spinal joints, called facet joints, are left without cushioning due to degenerating cartilage.

Treatment options at Laser Spine Institute

Even though the natural aging process causes most of these degenerative spine conditions, this does not mean it’s impossible to prevent or treat these conditions. Promoting spine health through posture, rest, diet and other lifestyle changes is important. Even if you develop a severe degenerative spine condition, symptoms can still be treated conservatively through treatments like physical therapy, spinal injections, over-the-counter medication and hot/cold compression therapy.

Surgery becomes a consideration if weeks or months of treatment has been attempted without finding the relief necessary for a good quality of life. If you are in this situation, consider the minimally invasive spine surgery from Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and are a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open spine surgery. Contact us today to learn how our outpatient procedures can help you find relief from neck and back pain.

We’ll be happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.