When Spinal Surgery is Right for You (Pt. 3)

Now that we’ve come to part three of my spinal surgery blog series, we will cover even more spinal conditions, how they can be treated, and if surgery is necessary, specifically, those of the degenerative nature.

Degenerative spinal conditions often come with age, and can lead to chronic pain disruptive of one’s daily activities and lifestyle. Consider the constant weight and pressure applied to the spine and neck day in and day out. This, over a long period of time, can lead to loss of function. More specifically, discs begin to lose elasticity, ligaments start to calcify, and arthritic pain in general is increased.

Like with all conditions, medication and physical rehabilitation can provide more or less relief for certain individuals, but surgery may be required in more severe situations. Surgeries performed for degenerative disorders involve removing whatever part of the spine is causing the compression in order to relieve stress on the surrounding nerves, and thus, relieve pain. Some of those conditions include herniated discs, degenerated discs, and bone spurs.

  • herniated disc is when the inner material of said disc is exposed, compressing nearby spinal nerves. The surgical consideration to correct this includes removing the exposed material, or the entire disc.
  • Degenerative disc disease can occur in any motion segment /joint along the spine. When the cartilage lining the joints begins to wear out, those joints become irregular, much more stiff, and can begin to swell; another source of pressure being applied to the surrounding nerves. Surgery can range from complete removal/replacement of the joint causing the pain, to relieving the pressure in the nerves in order to relieve pain.
  • Bone spurs are the human body’s natural response to spinal column stresses. The bones attempt to straighten themselves out, which typically results in growths along the spine affecting nerve passages. Undergoing surgery for this requires removal of the spurs, or the entire joint depending on their severity.

If you or someone you know is affected by degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, arthritis, or bone spurs, consult your medical professional to discuss options before deciding on surgery. Regular rehabilitation can help in relieving pain, but minimally invasive surgery has been proven to be a safe, successful alternative.

Originally published on GilTepperMD.com

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