Degenerative spine articles

A certain level of spine degeneration is an unfortunate — and largely unavoidable — product of the regular aging process. As we grow older, the makeup of our spinal anatomy gradually weakens, eventually leading to neck and back stiffness, less flexibility and mobility and more aches and pains. At the center of this degeneration are two integral pieces of the spinal puzzle: the facet joints and spinal discs.

Facet joints operate similarly to a hinge. Each vertebra has a symmetrical set facing upward and downward, and these facets interlock to form joints. Facet joints are surrounded by a thick lubricating liquid and coated with cartilage to help the bones to articulate against one another. The result is a spine which is stable enough to support much of the body’s weight while allowing flexion, extension and the pivoting ability required from the neck and back. Meanwhile, the spinal discs are soft, spongy pads that cushion the vertebrae and act as the body’s shock absorbers. These pads bear the brunt of the stress put on the body and allows further flexibility.

When functioning correctly, these structures work together and are often taken for granted. And yet, the facet joints and spinal discs are also particularly prone to spine wear and tear as a result of trauma, normal aging or disease. Discs can become thinned, herniated, ruptured, bulged, protruded, prolapsed or otherwise damaged, leading to pain and neurological symptoms. Likewise, facet joints can become worn down and arthritic, causing stiffness and other symptoms.

To better understand the causes, symptoms and treatments of spine degeneration, Laser Spine Institute has assembled some helpful articles, including:

If you are experiencing pain from a degenerative spine condition, contact Laser Spine Institute and learn more about the minimally invasive spine surgery we perform to treat neck and back pain. Our surgeries include minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures that are performed on an outpatient basis. Using state-of-the-art techniques, our team of surgeons can relieve pain from problematic discs or joints reducing the risks and long recovery of traditional open back surgery.^ Contact us today for a review of your MRI report or CT scan, and for more information on the treatments available for a degenerative spine.