Degenerative Spine Conditions: What to Know

Understanding Degenerative Spine Conditions

Degenerative spine conditions — like osteoarthritis and herniated discs — are very common sources of neck pain, back pain, and other symptoms. The discomfort and limited mobility caused by one of these conditions can be disruptive to your life and it can be easy to wonder if it’s possible to find relief. Degenerative spine problems and related symptoms are treatable, but a big part of that treatment relies on patient participation. If your doctor has recommended degenerative spine treatment after diagnosing you with a condition, there are a few basic facts to keep in mind that can help you find lasting relief.

Conservative Spine Treatments

Most people with degenerative spine conditions first attempt to manage their symptoms through one or more nonsurgical, conservative measures including: 

  • Medications to control inflammation and pain
  • Physical therapy and exercise improve the strength and flexibility of the spine and surrounding muscles
  • Lifestyle changes, like losing excess body weight and quitting smoking, to increase overall health and reduce stress on the spine
  • Epidural injections to relieve swelling and pain 

It may take some trial and error to find the right techniques to address your specific needs, potentially taking a few weeks before you notice an improvement in your symptoms. That’s why patience and perseverance are key as you work with your doctor to develop a plan that is right for you. 

If Conservative Treatment is Ineffective

In some cases, weeks or months of conservative treatments are not enough to provide sufficient relief from degenerative spine symptoms. In these cases, surgery may be recommended as a way of addressing the underlying spinal problems. There are several surgical approaches to degenerative spine treatment depending on the type and severity of the condition, as well as the location of the affected portion of the spine.
BEST Health System offers a variety of surgical options, including minimally invasive procedures. Dr. Keith Girton is a premier spine surgeon specializing in minimally invasive care. His goal is to help patients find an option that results in smaller incisions, less scarring, and a quicker recovery time. Learn more about surgery with BEST today.