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When is degenerative spine surgery the best treatment option?

Degenerative spine disease is a common diagnosis in the people over the age of 50. The everyday wear and tear on the spine and the natural aging process can cause deterioration and weakness in the spine. The discs in the spine lose water content and become more prone to damage. Typically when there is any change in the spine alignment or disc structure, it can cause a pinched nerve or damage to the spinal cord. Degenerative disc disease can include a ruptured or herniated disc, torn disc, bulging disc, osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis.

What treatments should I try before degenerative spine surgery?

Before surgical intervention is considered, you should try a combination of conservative treatment options for degenerative spine disease including:

  • Physical therapy. The goal of physical therapy is to help relieve pain while improving range of motion and flexibility. Physical therapy combines targeted stretches and exercises with massage.
  • Exercise and stretching. Low-impact exercise can help to keep the body in shape and fit. Stretching can help to keep the spine from becoming stiff and keep the muscles that support the spine strong.
  • Pain medication. Pain medication can help to relieve painful symptoms, and some types also reduce inflammation. You can use over-the-counter pain medication or prescription strength if recommended by your physician.
  • Heat and ice therapy. Heat therapy can help to relieve pain and increase circulation, which can speed up the healing process. Ice therapy helps to reduce swelling and inflammation. These therapies are most effective when you alternate between them.
  • Steroid injections. Steroid injections may help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. The effects of the injection can last a few days or up to a year. Steroid injections can relieve pain so you can participate in physical therapy.

When is degenerative spine surgery the best treatment option?

If after a few months of conservative treatments you are still experiencing painful symptoms, it may be time to consider degenerative spine surgery. Surgery may also be considered if your symptoms are extreme or if the condition causes changes in bladder and bowel control.

Degenerative spine surgery can be performed as traditional open spine surgery or as minimally invasive spine surgery. Open spine surgery requires a large incision, and the muscles and other soft tissue surrounding the site are cut. Open spine surgery is performed using general anesthesia and requires a hospital stay.

In contrast, our minimally invasive spine surgery uses a less than 1-inch incision and precision instrumentation. Surrounding muscles and soft tissues are not unnecessarily disrupted during the procedure. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure.

At USA Spine Care, surgeons take care to minimize damage to muscles surrounding the spine and help to reduce the chance of permanent muscle damage. If conservative treatment has failed, it is time to consider degenerative spine surgeryContact USA Spine Care for a no-cost MRI review* to find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive spine surgeries to help relieve your symptoms.

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