Currently, there is no known cure for a degenerative spine. Once the spinal column begins to break down, the process cannot be reversed and the resulting damage will not heal on its own. Therefore, a degenerative spine diagnosis is usually followed by a lifelong journey of learning to manage the associated neck or back pain and other symptoms. This can be accomplished in many ways, most of which do not involve surgery.
Easing the pain of a degenerative spine
Many common symptoms of a degenerative spine can be addressed with health-enhancing lifestyle changes, such as:
- Consuming a well-balanced diet. Eating a wide variety of nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meats, beans and healthy fats can promote good health in general and good spine health in particular.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight. Even just a few extra pounds can place significant pressure on a degenerated spine, which can worsen neck and back pain.
- Exercising regularly: A fitness trainer who has experience in working with people with degenerative spine symptoms can recommend an appropriate workout routine that incorporates gentle stretches, light strength training and low-impact aerobic exercise.
- Performing physical therapy. A physical therapist can provide instruction on how to safely perform exercises with a degenerative spine. Regular physical therapy sessions can also provide valuable opportunities to learn proper body mechanics, good posture and how to avoid positions that cause or worsen pain.
If needed, certain over-the counter analgesics such as acetaminophen can provide additional pain relief, while nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can help reduce painful inflammation. There also are also stronger prescription options, including pain relievers and muscle relaxants, which may be necessary to control severe symptoms.
Surgery for a degenerative spine
In general, surgery is reserved as a last resort for treating severe or worsening degenerative spine symptoms. It’s important to discuss all potential treatments options with a physician in order to ensure the best possible approach and outcome.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a degenerative spine and would like to explore your surgical treatment options, contact USA Spine Care. Our team can provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive outpatient surgery, which is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.
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