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Degenerative spine

Degenerative spine defined

A degenerative spine is a spine that has undergone changes due to the natural aging process. These changes can occur in the spine’s discs because they must endure a great amount of stress to facilitate movement. The spine’s facet joints are also prone to degenerative changes as well.

A degenerative spine diagnosis is fairly common among adults older than the age of 50. There are several conditions that may arise due to spinal degeneration, some of which are spinal osteoarthritis, bulging or herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, bone spurs, sciatica and degenerative disc disease.

Degenerative spine diagnosis

Though degenerative spine disorders are relatively common, they should not be ignored. If you are experiencing unexplained neck or back pain, it is important to consult with a physician who can accurately diagnose you with the appropriate degenerative spine condition and recommend a treatment plan. To begin, your physician will likely conduct a physical examination and ask you to describe your symptoms and medical history. To pinpoint the exact condition that is causing your pain, an MRI, CT scan or X-ray may be required.

Degenerative spine causes

The aging process is the primary cause of a degenerative spine. As we age, the discs, joints and other components that make up the spine naturally weaken due to years of stress. For some, this degeneration makes the spine more prone to damage, and as a result, some individuals will develop a degenerative spine condition.

Degenerative spine symptoms

The degenerative spine symptoms a patient experiences will depend largely on the specific condition he or she is suffering from. Broadly speaking, however, there are two main types of symptoms that occur when the spine undergoes degenerative changes. The first is localized pain, stiffness and muscle spasms in the affected area of the spine. The second is a set of symptoms known as radiculopathy, which occur when a nerve root in the spine is compressed. Symptoms of radiculopathy can include radiating pain, numbness or tingling and muscle weakness.

Degenerative spine treatment

When a patient first seeks treatment for a degenerative spine, a physician will likely recommend one or more conservative treatment methods aimed at relieving the patient’s symptoms. These methods commonly include pain and anti-inflammatory medication, low-impact exercise, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy and hot/cold compresses. Additionally, some patients explore alternative methods of treatment on their own. Although these methods are not widely accepted in the medical community, success has been reported through the use of acupuncture, massage therapy and chiropractic manipulation.

Degenerative spine surgery

If nonsurgical treatments fail to provide a patient with sufficient relief from the symptoms of a degenerative spine, surgery may be recommended. At Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, Florida, we offer minimally invasive, outpatient spine surgery that has several advantages over traditional open spine surgery. For example, our procedures have a lower risk of infection, less surgical blood loss and shorter recovery time^ compared to traditional open spine procedures. To learn more about our advanced procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today. Our team will be happy to provide you with a no-cost review* of your MRI to determine if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive spine surgery.