What is Degenerative Spine?
The spine is a complex structure comprised of muscles, vertebrae, cartilage, discs and ligaments, all of which naturally deteriorate as we age. In fact, the joints of the spine are more susceptible to deterioration than any other region of the body. Degenerative spinal conditions, particularly those involving the shock-absorbing discs, shouldn’t be taken lightly. Our discs act as protective cushions and prevent our vertebrae from grinding together. Any disruption can compress and aggravate nerves, cause pain and discomfort and even limit mobility.
Although certain spinal conditions do not become apparent until they begin to cause secondary complications, waiting too long to obtain an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment can oftentimes mean increasing the severity of symptoms. At Minimally Invasive SpineCARE®, our team of highly-skilled spine specialists is committed to helping you find safe, evidence-based solutions to your spine-related concerns.
Degenerative Spine Causes
Aging and the general wear and tear associated with the body’s natural processes are the primary causes of degenerative spine conditions. Every time we twist, move and bend, strain is placed upon our spine. Many factors besides time can encourage or accelerate degenerative spine disorders, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sudden acute injuries, traumas or accidents, such as those that may occur during a car accident, high-impact sport or hard fall
- Spinal stenosis, or the narrowing of the spinal canal
- Slipped or herniated discs
- Benign tumors
- Smoking and alcohol abuse
- Obesity or excess weight
- Lack of exercise
- Degenerative disc disease
- Improper footwear
- Making strenuous, repetitive movements frequently, which often occurs when individuals have a job that requires manual or highly physical labor
If you believe you may be at risk for rapid or premature spine degeneration, schedule a consultation with one of our spine experts. By making minor adjustments and living mindfully, it is often possible to slow or reduce the effects of degenerative spine conditions.
Degenerative Spine Symptoms
Generally speaking, symptoms of a degenerating spine typically include:
- Spinal deformity
- Limited mobility, stiffness and frequent aches
- Sharp or chronic pain that can occur either when moving or at rest
- Nerve damage
- Weakness in the limbs associated with the aggravated nerve area(s)
- Numbness and loss of sensation in the limbs associated with the affected region(s)
- Difficulty participating in everyday activities
- Discomfort that returns with certain movements
- Neck pain
- The sensation that your foot is slapping against the ground when you walk, known as “foot drop”
- Feelings of “pins-and-needles” in the back or limbs
Because degenerative spine complications can harm various areas of the body, they are easily confused with other conditions. The best way to rule out life-threatening medical concerns is to schedule a visit with one of our medical professionals.
If you or a loved one begins to experience fever, bleeding or incontinence of the bladder or bowels, call 911 immediately as these symptoms may indicate a medical emergency.
Our Minimally Invasive Treatment Approach
If you are suffering from spine-related difficulties, you are not alone. The team of experienced physicians and surgeons at Minimally Invasive SpineCARE® is committed to helping you accurately diagnose and effectively treat your degenerative spine condition. Through personalized, patient-centric care and innovative procedures, we strive to improve the quality of life for each and every one of our patients.
The first step toward optimal healing is to schedule a consultation at one of our state-of-the-art facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. During your initial visit, one of our Board-certified spine experts will carefully and compassionately evaluate your medical history and physical state. To determine the location and extent of your spine problems, imaging tests such as a CT scan, MRI or X-ray may be requested. After obtaining a comprehensive diagnosis, we will work with you to design a customized treatment plan that meets your unique needs and specifications.
Usually, we encourage patients to explore conservative treatment methods before opting for surgery. Many men and women are surprised at the dramatic effect non-invasive care strategies can have on the symptoms of their degenerative spine disorder. Commonly advised conservative treatments include:
Exercise and Physical Therapy: Contrary to popular belief, bed rest is not typically beneficial for patients suffering from a degenerative spine condition. By strengthening the joints and muscles around the spine, losing excess weight and increasing flexibility, it is possible to reduce the amount of strain placed upon what is referred to as the “backbone.” Physical therapy that targets the abdomen and affected regions of the spine can also be extremely effective and will likely play a central role in any recuperation program.
Medication: Often, physician-directed medication can be an effective pain management strategy for spine-related difficulties. Over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers can sometimes reduce the inflammation associated with degenerative spine and allow patients to begin long-term therapies like an exercise regimen. Localized cortisone injections may reduce or eliminate the pain a patient experiences for lengthy amounts of time as well.
Additional Treatments: Using heating pads and ice packs in alternation, purchasing proper footwear, undergoing professional therapeutic massage and making other adjustments may help reduce the severity of degenerative spine-related conditions. The specific treatments used will depend upon the location and extent of your spinal deterioration.
If conservative treatments do not provide adequate relief, surgical intervention may be necessary to maintain or improve your well-being. At Minimally Invasive SpineCARE®, our surgeons specialize in minimally invasive laparoscopic therapies. When compared to traditional open surgeries, minimally invasive procedures usually yield:
- Shortened recovery times that allow patients to return to work and school significantly faster
- Fewer potential complications
- A reduced risk of scarring
- Minimized blood loss and interference with surrounding muscles and other soft tissues
- Less post-operative pain
The surgical approach used will depend upon the preferences of the patient, as well as any determining medical factors. If a patient is obese or has significant adhesions (known as scar tissue) from a past surgery, an open procedure may be necessary. Because our surgeons are greatly experienced in both traditional operations and minimally invasive surgeries, the team at Minimally Invasive SpineCARE® is able to provide the type of procedure that best meets your individual needs.
For more information about degenerative spine conditions and Minimally Invasive SpineCARE®, please do not hesitate to get in touch by calling us directly at 972-255-5588 or by filling out the form on this page. We look forward to providing care that exceeds your expectations!