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What are the most common causes of a degenerative spine?

If you’re feeling the effects of a degenerative spine, you may be wondering what caused it. Most likely, if you have not experienced a traumatic spinal injury, the degeneration is simply a result of natural aging and everyday wear and tear.

Rather than being triggered by a single event, spinal degeneration is more of a cascading process. Over time, the cushioning spinal discs gradually lose water content, which can alter their shape and strength. With less effective padding between them, the vertebrae will move closer together, setting in motion additional degenerative changes in your spine, such as the development of protective bone spurs if bone-on-bone contact occurs. These changes can be problematic if spinal nerve compression results — and, due to the limited space available within the spinal canal, it is highly likely.

Other factors that can contribute to spinal degeneration

Neither aging nor its degenerative effects on the spine can be avoided. However, there are some factors that can hasten the development of a degenerative spine. These include:

  • Smoking and other forms of tobacco use
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Improper nutrition
  • Poor posture
  • Heavy lifting
  • Obesity or excess body weight

Treatments for a degenerative spine

While most adults have some degree of spinal degeneration, many do not have any associated nerve compression. This is key because pressured nerves are the root cause of most symptoms.

Treatment for degenerative spine symptoms may include prescription or over-the-counter pain medications, physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, strengthening exercises, heat applications and ultrasound therapy. If the discomfort lingers after several weeks of conservative treatment, surgery may become an option.

At USA Spine Care, our surgeons use minimally invasive surgical techniques to address degenerative spine conditions on an outpatient basis. Contact us today so that we can guide you through your next step toward pain relief. We can provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures.

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