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A degenerative spine is a condition whereby the structures of the spine, including the disc, joints and ligaments, undergo degeneration. A certain level of spinal degeneration is an unfortunate and largely unavoidable product of the regular aging process. As we grow older, the makeup of our spinal anatomy gradually weakens, eventually leading to neck and back stiffness, less flexibility and mobility and more aches and pains. At the center of this degeneration are two integral pieces of the spinal puzzle — the facet joints and spinal discs. To learn more about this degenerative condition and the treatments available to move you forward on the road to recovery, read the following article.
Understanding your spinal degeneration
Facet joints operate similarly to a hinge. Each vertebra has a symmetrical set facing upward and downward and these facets interlock to form joints. Facet joints are surrounded by a thick lubricating liquid and coated with cartilage to help the bones to articulate against one another. The result is a spine which is stable enough to support much of the body’s weight while allowing flexion, extension and the pivoting ability required from the neck and back.
Meanwhile, the spinal discs are spongy pads that cushion the vertebrae and act as the body’s shock absorbers. These pads bear the brunt of the stress put on the body and allows further flexibility. When functioning correctly, these structures work together and are often taken for granted. The facet joints and spinal discs are also particularly prone to wear as a result of trauma, normal aging or disease.
Discs can become thinned, herniated, ruptured, bulged, protruded, prolapsed or otherwise damaged, leading to pain and neurological symptoms. Likewise, facet joints can become worn down and arthritic, causing stiffness and other symptoms such as localized pain or radiating pain into the extremities as well as numbness and tingling in the spine.
To better understand the causes, symptoms and treatments of a degenerative spine, USA Spine Care has assembled some helpful articles, including:
Surgical options for relieving a degenerative spine
If you are experiencing pain from a degenerative spine condition and have yet to find relief from conservative treatments like medication and physical therapy, contact USA Spine Care. We can help you learn about the minimally invasive spine surgery we perform to treat chronic neck and back pain. Our surgeons can relieve pain from problematic discs or joints, reducing the risks and long recovery of traditional open back surgery.^
The procedures performed at USA Spine Care include minimally invasive decompression and stabilization surgery that is performed on an outpatient basis using a small muscle-sparing incision. Reach out to our dedicated team today for a no-cost review of your MRI report or CT scan,* and for more information on the treatments available for a degenerative spine. We can evaluate your condition to see if you are a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive degenerative spine procedures.
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