How degeneration affects the vertebrae and the spinal column

The vertebrae are segments of bone consisting of a round body with an arch extending from the rear. These vertebrae stack to form a column that holds up the body, while the arches form the central spinal canal that protects the spinal cord and nerve roots as they travel from the brain out to the body.

Each vertebra is linked by joints and cushioned and separated by discs that allow for basic movement and flexibility. Many spine conditions that cause neck or back pain are a result of degenerating discs or inflamed joints within the vertebral column.

Conditions affecting the vertebral column

The spine is placed under a lot of pressure on a daily basis. With age the parts of the spine begin to dry out and become less able to withstand the stresses they are put under. This can lead to displaced anatomy that can put pressure on the spinal cord and exiting nerve roots by narrowing the spinal canal and nerve root exits, called foramina. Spinal nerve compression is very often a source of chronic neck pain, back pain and other symptoms that can interfere with normal activities.

Specific spine conditions can include:

  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Spondylolisthesis, or vertebral slippage
  • Spinal osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis

When you see your doctor about neck or back pain, he or she will likely start with an attempt to diagnose the cause and location of the condition affecting the vertebral column. This is done through a review of your symptoms and medical history, a physical examination and often with diagnostic imagery like a CT scan, MRI or X-ray.

Treatment at Laser Spine Institute

If you’ve been diagnosed with a condition affecting the vertebral column and are considering spine surgery after exhausting conservative treatments, reach out to Laser Spine Institute.

We offer minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures that can treat a wide range of degenerative spine conditions on an outpatient basis. These procedures are often the clinically appropriate first choice over traditional open spine surgery.^

Contact us for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our procedures.