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. Our team of highly-skilled spine specialists is committed to helping you find safe, evidence-based solutions to your spine-related concerns.
Degenerative Spine CausesAging 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 weightLack 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 SymptomsGenerally 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.