Recognizing degenerative spine symptoms

Degenerative spine conditions may first appear as slight soreness or stiffness in the neck or back. This first indication of a degenerative condition is often overlooked and considered a result of a sore muscle or bad sleeping posture. In fact, it is not uncommon for someone to be in the early stages of an age-related condition such as spinal osteoarthritis and not even know it.

However, as the degenerative spine condition progresses, the symptoms of slight discomfort transition into sometimes debilitating pain and stiffness. By understanding how to recognize the initial symptoms of a degenerative spine condition, you can help treat the condition before it worsens and prevents you from doing the activities you enjoy.

How spinal nerve compression feels

Even though degenerative spine symptoms vary from person to person, there are a few general sensations and limitations that are fairly common across the population. These include:

  • Pain in one or more facet joints due to the irritation of a nerve within an arthritic joint
  • Pain at the site within the spine where a degenerative spine condition has compressed or otherwise made contact with a nerve root or the spinal cord
  • Pain that travels along the length of a compressed nerve
  • Loss of sensation or numbness in an area innervated by a compressed nerve
  • Tingling in an area of the body innervated by a compressed nerve
  • Weakness or reduced mobility in a muscle group innervated by a compressed nerve

These symptoms are not always experienced constantly. Different postures or physical attitudes may give rise to one or more uncomfortable sensations, or produce a diminished level of pain. For example, leaning over a shopping cart is an act of spinal flexion. This action widens the space between the pinched nerve and the damaged disc or vertebra, sometimes temporarily alleviating the symptoms of nerve compression.

What to do about degenerative spine symptoms

The first thing to do if serious discomfort begins to affect your quality of life is visit a physician for an examination and diagnosis. If it turns out that a degenerative spine condition like osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease is the underlying cause of your neck or back pain and other symptoms, a regimen of conservative treatment methods should suffice.

These treatments can include physical therapy and pain medication, as well as chiropractic care, stretches and general lifestyle changes. The purpose of conservative treatment is to strengthen the spine and reduce pressure on the affected nerve root, thereby reducing the pain and symptoms associated with your condition.

While many patients find conservative treatments sufficient for pain relief, some patients require more precise treatment for a degenerative spine condition. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive spine surgery that allows patients to have a safer and effective alternative to traditional spine surgery. Our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures reduce the pressure on a compressed nerve root by removing a portion or all of the damaged disc or bone spur that is causing the nerve to be irritated.

The benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery include a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complication when compared to traditional open neck or back surgery. Our commitment to medical excellence and advancement has allowed our patients to experience a 96 patient satisfaction score^.

For more information about our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today for a review of your MRI report or CT scan.