Degenerative Spine Disorders
Degenerative spine disorders affect millions of people worldwide, and the majority of all Americans will experience some form of neck or back pain due to deterioration in the spinal column. 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.
First, let’s discuss the two main types of degenerative spine conditions, which include:
- Degenerative disc in the spine – the breakdown of the soft, gel-filled discs in between the vertebrae. As discs deteriorate, pieces can break off and clog spinal nerve passageways, pinching nerves and causing pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness.
- Degenerative spine arthritis – the breakdown of joint 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 warm pain, joint locking, 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 regimen that is suited to our own individual needs:
- Herniated disc or bulging disc – A disc tears (or “herniates”), allowing the inner contents to extrude into the spinal canal. Or, a disc can have a contained bulge that presses upon 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 decompression.
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 physician, you may want to try mild massage, gentle chiropractic work, stretching, low-impact exercises, hot and cold compresses, pain medication, anti-inflammatory steroid injections, acupuncture and rest. If your symptoms become chronically severe, you should consider every option. To help you do this, Laser Spine Institute would like to give you more information about our minimally invasive outpatient procedures that have helped tens of thousands of people find relief from neck and back pain. Contact us today for a review of your MRI or CT scan.