What Causes a Degenerative Spine?

What is a Degenerative Spine?

A degenerative spine is a condition that causes the structures of the spine, such as the vertebrae, joints, discs, muscles, and ligaments, to undergo degenerative changes. When a degenerative spine compresses the spinal cord or nerve root, this condition can result in radiating pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness. To learn about the variety of reasons that this condition develops, read the following article.

Why Does this Condition Develop?

A degenerative spine can form due to the following reasons:

  1. Aging. As you get older, components in the spine begin to gradually wear as well as lose their ability to serve as cushions for the spine and absorb impact. The cartilage around the discs can begin to weaken, resulting in a loss in water content. This may cause a disc to bulge outside of its normal boundary, or the bones may begin to rub against each other, leading to pressure on the nerve roots or spinal cord.
  2. Weight. With the spine enduring a great amount of pressure from facilitating everyday movements and supporting the upper body, excess weight can cause the spine to deteriorate. Being overweight can lead to lower back pain and stress, causing compression in sensitive areas. Weight gain can also weaken the muscles and reduce the nutrients being delivered to the spine. Thus, weight management is a crucial component in delaying the onset of degeneration and ensuring a healthy spine.
  3. Sports. Injury from high-impact sports like football, baseball, and hockey can lead to a degenerative spine. With so many repetitive and strenuous movements, components of the spine can become injured and degenerate prematurely. By taking preventative measures, like using safety equipment, taking frequent breaks, and maintaining good form, you can reduce the likelihood of developing a degenerative spine.

Treating a Degenerative Spine

Relieving a degenerative spine often entails a course of conservative treatments, including:

  • Pain medications
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Range of motion exercises
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Heat massages

However, if your condition does not respond to several weeks or months of treatment, surgical intervention may be necessary to provide you with the relief you’ve been searching for. 

Surgery with BEST Health System

At BEST Health System, it is our primary goal to help our patients find the least invasive, most effective treatment option. If this means surgery, we offer minimally invasive alternatives to traditional open back procedures. 

Contact BEST to learn more and to schedule an appointment.