If you have recently been diagnosed with a degenerative spine condition, it’s understandable to feel a little overwhelmed about what to do next. However, it’s important to maintain a positive attitude about treating your condition. Degenerative changes in the spine are extremely common and there are many different treatment options available to help manage symptoms caused by these conditions. Having a better understanding of some of the specific ways to ease degenerative spine pain can help you have the right perspective and expectations as you work with your doctor to develop the best course of action.
Conservative treatments for degenerative spine pain
After a doctor diagnoses a degenerative spine condition, the next step is usually to develop a personalized treatment plan. In most cases, this initially means nonsurgical techniques that are designed to help manage pain while also improving spinal flexibility, strength and overall health.
While the recommended techniques can vary from patient to patient depending on a number of factors, some combination of the following treatments is often recommended:
- Medication. Depending on the exact nature and severity of symptoms, a doctor may recommend either prescription or over-the-counter pain medication or anti-inflammatories.
- Lifestyle changes. Taking steps to manage weight, improve nutrition, get regular exercise and quit smoking are typically recommended to improve spine health.
- Hot and cold therapy. Alternating use of a heating pad to relax muscles and improve circulation with an ice pack to reduce inflammation and numb the area can be beneficial.
- Physical therapy. This involves both working with a physical therapist as well as performing exercises at home to strengthen supporting muscles and improve range of motion.
- Epidural steroid injections. A series of injections to the epidural space of the spinal cord can relieve inflammation and reduce pain enough for patients to engage in everyday activities and treatments like physical therapy and exercise plans.
Work with your doctor
Above all else, the best thing you can do after you’ve been diagnosed with a degenerative spine condition is to listen to the advice of your doctor. While it’s highly recommended to educate yourself on your condition and the treatments available to you, keep in mind that what works for someone else isn’t necessarily the best course of action for you. Your doctor should take into consideration a variety of factors when crafting a personalized degenerative spine treatment plan. Additionally, the success of your treatment can often depend on you following your treatment plan closely — usually for a period of several weeks or months.
You may be recommended for surgery if you have exhausted all other treatment options without finding the relief necessary for a good quality of life. In this situation, reach out to USA Spine Care as you consider your surgical options to learn more about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery. Our board-certified surgeons+ use muscle-sparing techniques, allowing for an outpatient procedure with less risk of complication compared to traditional open neck or back surgery.
Contact our Spine Care Consultants today and receive a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.