Options for Degenerative Spine Surgery

Overview of Degenerative Spine Surgery

Degenerative spine surgery can address a variety of spine conditions caused by aging, trauma, and genetics. The spine is a system made up of bones, muscles, ligaments, and spinal discs. When any of these elements do not function properly, it can affect the mobility of the spine and potentially cause pain at the site of the problem. It can also cause radiating symptoms like pain, numbness, and weakness. 

A degenerative spine condition is an umbrella term used to refer to any condition involving the breakdown of these spinal components. Such conditions include the growth of bone spurs, bulging or herniated discs, and degenerative scoliosis. Most of these problems are induced by nothing more than the natural aging process, which can commonly lead to the loss of cartilage in the spinal joints, the thinning of the discs in the spine, and the thickening of ligaments. This can lead to disruptive symptoms that might eventually make surgery necessary. Read on to learn about the types of treatment options available for your degenerative spine, including conservative methods, and surgery.

Conservative Alternatives to Surgery

The majority of people who experience degenerative spine conditions don’t require surgery to feel relief from their symptoms. In most cases, doctors recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and nonsurgical treatment methods that can help manage pain and discomfort. For example, patients who are overweight may be advised to manage their weight to remove some excess pressure on the spine, and smokers are typically asked to quit smoking because it contributes to degeneration within the spine. 

Physical therapy is also commonly recommended to properly stretch the affected neck or back muscles and to strengthen the core muscles that support the spine. Many people also find that taking over-the-counter or prescription medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, pain medications, and muscle relaxers can help them manage symptoms. For more severe degenerative spine conditions, steroid injections into the spine may be recommended to alleviate persistent inflammation.

Traditional Approaches to Degenerative Spine Surgery

Although many people with degenerative spine conditions find conservative treatment methods helpful when controlling their symptoms, some eventually turn to surgery as a way to find more meaningful relief if they are not getting better after several weeks or months of treatment. Procedures may involve the removal of problematic bone or disc material (as in the case of a discectomy) and/or the decompression of compressed nerves in the spine. 

Traditionally, these degenerative spine surgery options are completed using traditional open spine approaches, which involve making a long incision in the neck or back through which the surgeon completes the procedure. These surgeries are completed in a hospital setting and require several days of inpatient monitoring before the patient is cleared to return home. When the surgery is complete, the highly invasive methods of accessing the spinal components can often mean heavy scarring and intense postoperative pain.

Minimally Invasive Degenerative Spine Surgery with BEST Health System

BEST Health System is proud to offer minimally invasive surgical alternatives to traditional procedures. This allows patients to experience less scarring, a quicker recovery time, and smaller incisions. The BEST medical professionals understand patient needs and expectations and make it their goal to ensure all patients are comfortable. Join BEST and join the future of healthcare.