Spinal degeneration is a condition in which the bones, discs, and joints of the spine sustain gradual wear and tear; this typically occurs in older individuals. The spine is made up of many bones called vertebrae; each one has a large hole in the centre. The vertebrae are lined up on top of each other forming the spinal canal, which provides both space and protection for the spinal cord and important nerves. Over time, wear and tear can result in degenerative changes in the spine, and these changes may include loss of joint cartilage, decreased disc height, and thickening of the bone, among others. As spinal degeneration progresses, pressure may be placed on the spinal cord and nerves, and this can lead to a range of symptoms. People who have a history of lower back pain or lifestyles involving a lot of lifting, twisting, bending, or sitting are more likely to experience spinal degeneration.
Spinal Degeneration Signs and Symptoms
You would typically see most cases of spinal degeneration in older patients, and some individuals with minor cases may not notice any symptoms at all. However, as the condition progresses, the person may experience back pain, stiffness, or loss of range of motion. In severe cases involving nerve or spinal cord compression, symptoms may include pain, weakness, or numbness in the lower back, buttocks, legs, or feet. Individuals whose spinal degeneration causes pain may notice that the pain increases when they perform activities that require repetitive or continuous straightening or extending of the spine, such as prolonged standing or lifting. Sitting or lying down may relieve the pain.
Spinal Degeneration Prognosis
Although you can’t reverse degenerative spine changes, most patients achieve a good outcome with the right treatment. Those with mild to moderate changes to the spine often find that appropriate management results in few to no symptoms. Even patients with severe degeneration can achieve significant improvements in symptoms with the right treatment. However, these individuals may require lifestyle modifications and experience some functional limitations.
There is a range of treatment options for those with spinal degeneration. In many cases, all that is needed is physiotherapy to assist with pain relief, strength, and flexibility. Physiotherapy may involve massage, mobilisation, electrotherapy, traction, ice or heat treatment, exercises, and more. In some cases, there may be the requirement for further intervention, such as medication, special tests, X-rays or MRI scans. Severe cases of spinal degeneration sometimes warrant a visit to a spinal surgeon in Brisbane. Spinal surgeons in Brisbane can perform procedures designed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
About Cochrane Neurosurgery & Spine
For over nine years, Cochrane Neurosurgery & Spine in Southport has been providing excellent care for patients with a variety of spinal problems, including those who require surgery. Dr. Neil Cochrane specialises in this type of surgery and values patient education and involvement when it comes to their treatment. This experienced spinal surgeon offers comprehensive spine care including quality surgical care. If you need the services back surgeons offer, ask your GP for a referral.
Dr Neil Cochrane
Cochrane Neurosurgery and Spine
|Phone:||07 5531 3600|
|Fax:||07 5531 3636|
|Address:||Ground Floor, 34 High Street, Southport 4215|