The role of collagen in the spine

Collagen is made up of different types of protein and is a primary component of connective tissue. It is found in various forms in the skin, tendons, blood vessels, organs, bone, cartilage, hair and elsewhere in the body. Collagen cells possess great strength and ability to stretch. As the body ages, a breakdown of collagen cells within the skin leads to the formation of wrinkles. Collagen breakdown in the bones and joints can lead to osteoporosis or osteoarthritis.

Collagen and spinal anatomy

Collagen is present throughout the spinal anatomy, including:

  • Spinal discs — The discs cushion the vertebrae, allowing the spine to bend and flex
  • Facet joints — Name for the joints that link the vertebrae
  • Ligaments, tendons, and muscles — These parts support and connect the spine as well as other parts of the body
  • Meninges (dura mater, arachnoid mater, pia mater) — These are the protective layers that surround and nourish the spinal cord
  • Blood vessels — Blood Supplies nutrients, oxygen and hydration to spinal anatomy

Collagen breakdown within the spinal discs occurs when degenerative disc disease is present. As the discs lose their elasticity, the vertebrae can collapse and nerves in the spine become vulnerable to compression. The same is true for the facet joints, which depend on cartilage to create a smooth connection between the vertebrae.

Nerve root or spinal cord compression can cause chronic neck or back pain, accompanied by other symptoms such as muscle weakness, numbness or tingling in the shoulders, arms, hands or lower body.

Laser Spine Institute treats degenerative spine conditions

If you have been diagnosed with a spine condition such as arthritis or degenerative disc disease, symptoms can be managed through physician-prescribed conservative treatment. Typical methods include physical therapy, exercise, pain medications or therapeutic massage. Occasionally, weeks or months of conservative therapy is not enough to relieve chronic neck or back pain, and a physician might present surgery as an option.

For those concerned about the risks and difficulties that often come with traditional open back surgery, Laser Spine Institute offers an alternative. The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute are experts in minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that use smaller incisions to access the spine. This means less muscle disruption which leads to a quicker recovery^ that lets you get back to your life faster.

Contact Laser Spine Institute for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.