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Common degenerative spine conditions

Spinal degeneration is a common part of aging. Not only do the discs that separate the vertebrae start to dehydrate and lose some of their natural height, but the cartilage that cushions the joints can start to wear away as well. This can lead to several different issues, all of which fall under the category of degenerative spine disease.

Complications of spinal degeneration

While there are quite a few degenerative spine conditions, the most common include:

  1. Herniated discs. As the discs in the spine break down, they can develop small cracks in their outer walls. The soft inner core, which serves as a shock absorber, can then leak out into the spinal canal, where it can put pressure on a nerve or a nerve root.
  2. Bone spurs. When spinal cartilage wears away, joint surfaces can rub against each other. In response to the friction, the body may produce small calcium deposits known as bone spurs. Because there’s limited space within the spinal canal, these bone spurs can press against nearby structures.
  3. Spinal stenosis. If a herniated disc or a bone spur is positioned in just the right way, it can cause progressive narrowing of the spinal canal, otherwise known as spinal stenosis. As spinal stenosis becomes more severe, it can compress the spinal cord.

What to do about spinal degeneration

Although spinal degeneration can’t be entirely prevented, there are several ways to slow down the process. For instance, maintaining a healthy body weight can reduce stress on the spine.

Additionally, conservative therapies such as medications and exercise can help reduce the symptoms of degenerative spine disease. Surgery may be an option for removing out-of-place bone or soft tissue from the spinal canal. This can help in ways that conservative treatments — which are designed to relieve symptoms but not address their underlying cause — cannot.

At USA Spine Care, we perform minimally invasive surgery for patients whose spinal degeneration has become so severe that it’s interfering with their quality of life. Our degenerative spine procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, and many of our patients are up and walking on the same day as their operation.^ For a free MRI review,* contact us today. We can help you find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive degenerative spine treatment.

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