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What is degeneration of the lumbar spine?

Degenerative spine is a broad term referring to changes that occur to the spinal column as a result of the natural aging process. These changes can most particularly affect the lumbar (lower) region of the spinal column due to the amount of weight it supports while also being flexible enough for basic movement.

Because it is age-related, degenerative spine happens to everyone to some degree or another and isn’t necessarily painful. However, if symptoms do develop, they can become very disruptive to quality of life and your ability to accomplish everyday activities. If you are dealing with symptoms you think may be related to a degenerative spine condition, learning more about the different types of conditions and treatment options can help you be more engaged with your treatment as you seek the relief you deserve.

Types of degenerative spine conditions

The lumbar spine consists of five, or in rare cases, six vertebrae that form the base of the spine. The main vertebral bodies are linked together by facet joints and cushioned by rubbery discs that allow the lumbar spine to bend and flex. Over time, the discs and joints can begin to degenerate due to loss of water and protein content that makes them brittle and less elastic.

These changes can lead to the following degenerative spine conditions:

  • Degenerative disc disease — breakdown of the spinal discs
  • Spinal osteoarthritis — joint inflammation due to degeneration of joint cartilage
  • Bone spurs — growths of bone that occur due to friction caused by both arthritis and degenerative disc disease
  • Bulging and herniated discs — when a spinal disc extends out of its normal place in the spine or ruptures, both of which can be caused by age-related degeneration

Lumbar degenerative spine treatment

Symptoms of degenerative spine are often the result of spinal nerve compression by displaced spinal anatomy and are typically first treated with conservative options like medication and physical therapy. Lumbar degenerative spine surgery can become an option if weeks or months of conservative treatment have not brought the relief necessary to comfortably engage in regular activities.

To learn more about degenerative spine treatment, contact the dedicated team at USA Spine Care today. We can help you learn more about these conditions and the treatment options available, including our minimally invasive spine surgery. We’re proud to have helped thousands of patients at our state-of-the-art centers across the United States since 2005.
Find out if you’re a potential candidate for one of our procedures by asking for your free MRI review.*

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