Degenerative spine disorders
Degenerative spine disorders affect millions of people worldwide and most people will experience some form of neck or back pain due to deterioration in the spinal column at some point in their lives. The good news is that these disorders are treatable. Educating yourself about the different types of disorders and what you can do to relieve yourself of pain is the first step to combating degenerative spine disorders.
Specific degenerative spine conditions
First, let’s discuss the two main types of degenerative spine conditions, which include:
- Degenerative disc disease in the spine. This condition involves the breakdown of the soft, gel-filled discs in between the vertebrae. As discs deteriorate they can lose height, bulge or herniate, leading to nerve compression and resulting in symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness.
- Degenerative spinal arthritis. This condition describes the breakdown of cartilage in the facet joints of the spine. The facet joints form hinge-like connections between vertebrae. Erosion of cartilage between the joints impedes their ability to move freely, leading to aches, stiffness limited range of motion and the formation of painful bone spurs.
Next, exploring the more specific injuries that can occur from degenerative spine disorders will help you learn how to create a chronic back pain treatment plan that is suited to your own needs:
- Herniated disc or bulging disc. A disc tears, allowing the inner contents to push into the spinal canal. Or, a disc can have a contained bulge that presses on a nerve root or the spinal cord.
- Thinning disc. As discs lose their cartilage and water content, they can collapse and flatten. This flattening allows vertebrae on either side of the disc to rub together, possibly resulting in bone spur formation.
- Bone spur. Also the result of degenerative spine arthritis, bone spur growth on vertebrae can cause neural compression.
Degenerative spine treatments
There are a range of treatments available for degenerative spine disorders. If your symptoms remain sporadic and mild, temporary pain relief treatments may help you achieve a higher quality of life. Under the care of a doctor, you may want to try therapeutic massage, chiropractic adjustment, stretching, low-impact exercises, hot and cold compresses, medication, anti-inflammatory steroid injections, acupuncture and rest. If your symptoms become chronically severe and are not responding to conservative treatments, surgery can become a serious option.
To help you do this, Laser Spine Institute would like to give you more information about our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery that has helped thousands of people find relief from neck and back pain. By using muscle-sparing techniques, we’re able to provide a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^