Degenerative spine conditions are characterized by the gradual loss of integrity and stability of the spine with the progression of time. These conditions usually occur due to old age and general wear, but some individuals may experience them sooner in life. This could be due to genetic dispositions, which cause rapid degeneration in the spinal discs. There are many forms of spine degeneration, from a slipped disc to spinal stenosis to osteoarthritis. These diseases can cause degradation in the spine, leading to complications with the nerve canal and other motor and sensory difficulties.
Generally speaking, degeneration in the spine can lead to a variety of problems. Common symptoms of a degenerating spine are spinal deformity, reduced motion, chronic or sharp pain in any and all parts of the body (but usually stemming from the back), pain during movement, or rest. There are a bunch of symptoms pointing towards nerve injury as well. Symptoms such as weakening, muscle degeneration, sensory loss, loss or reduction of motor control, difficulty during excretion due to bladder and bowel dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction.
The diagnosis of spinal problems involves a review of the patient’s medical history. This is done to investigate any predispositions to spinal deterioration or injuries. A person with family members who have experienced similar problems is more likely to develop the disease. Imaging techniques such as an X-ray study of the backbone may be performed to better understand the degree and extend of the degeneration. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also provide useful insight into the spinal channel. MRIs can be used to view the discs, nerves, and spinal canal region, helping a doctor assess the situation correctly. Computer tomography (CT) may also be performed.
Treatment may include occupational therapy, physical therapy, special exercises, medications, losing weight, and surgery. Medical options include injecting the joints next to the damaged disc with steroids and a local anesthetic. These are called facet joint injections. They can provide significant pain relief. Depending on the type and extent of the discs’ degeneration, physical therapy may do the job, and additional treatment may not be necessary. Therapy that focuses on increasing flexibility and muscle strength can help alleviate the pain and discomfort a patient experiences. In extreme cases, surgery may be required to treat the patient properly. Artificial disc replacement may be necessary.
It is essential to consult a doctor if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms outlined above. Adequate treatment is available to help reduce the level of pain and discomfort one experiences. Early diagnosis and treatment can prove very useful in dealing with the disease, allowing the patient to avoid pain and improve their quality of life.