Know about the structure of your spine before understanding Spinal Degeneration…
Circular disk like bones having a hollow centre are called vertebra. These vertebrae are stacked in a column, held together by ligaments, to form the spine/spinal canal that encloses and protects our spinal cord. The cavity also contains a shock-absorbing spongy layer of tissues to absorb any shocks. Any degeneration in the vertebrae may pinch the nerves and cause pain. Other names for spinal degeneration are Spinal Stenosis, Degenerative Spine, Osteoarthritis of the Spine or Disc degeneration.
The pain in your back can also be Spinal Degeneration! Don’t ignore it! But firstly, check for yourself if you have subjected your lower back to any of these pain triggers…
Possible Causes for the Pain in Your Back:
- Natural Wear and Tear
With age, the vertebrae tend to wear out, causing degeneration. Paget’s disease, a condition of the bones, can also cause overgrowth in bones, which may lead to spinal degeneration.
- Herniated Disks
The shock-absorbing tissues may also dry out with age, and protrude through cracks between the vertebrae putting pressure on the spinal cord.
- Stiffened Ligaments
The ligaments holding the disks together may thicken with age, and bulge into the spinal canal, causing pain and discomfort.
- Spinal Tumors
Abnormal tumors inside the spinal cord can also cause spinal degeneration.
- Spinal Injuries
Major spinal trauma caused by accidents or falls, can lead to mild or severe spinal degeneration.
Diagnosing Spinal Degeneration
In minor cases, Spinal Degeneration may not have any symptoms. It can be detected by X-Rays, MRIs or CT Scans. Consult your physician today to find out the right mode of detection for you!
Symptoms of Spinal Degeneration; do you experience any of these?
- Low back pain or stiffness.
- Intense back pain, tingling sensations in the lower back, weakness and/or numbness in acute cases.
- Patients suffering from Spine Degeneration, complain of increased symptoms when pressure is put on the spine during physical activity.
- This discomfort or pain decreases or disappears with bending, which relaxes the spine.
Different modes of treatment – Find out the perfect one for you!
Spine Degeneration can be treated in 4 different ways, depending on the severity of the condition and the patient’s personal preference:
Drugs that are often prescribed include:-
- Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs available over the counter, such as Ibuprofen.
- Muscle Relaxants to calm muscle spasms.
- Anti-Depressants to ease chronic pain.
- Anti-Seizure drugs for any damaged nerves that may be causing pain.
Taken orally, these drugs can bring relief.
Regular physical therapy can also bring a lot of relief. This aims to increase strength, flexibility, stability, endurance and balance. Physical therapy also poses no side-effect and is therefore, most recommended.
Inflammation puts pressure on the exposed nerve roots, causing them to become swollen and irritated. Injecting steroids directly into the area surrounding the vertebrae or the inflamed part of the spine reduces inflammation and relieves pressure, thus bringing relief.
Surgery is usually considered in very severe cases and only as a last resort, and the condition has proved to be debilitating. In such cases, the doctors try to relieve pressure on the nerves or the spinal cord through surgical procedures like laminectomy or fusing together of vertebrae.
However, surgery must be undergone under informed condition, because, such a surgery may entail high risks and side-effects. In certain cases, surgery is known to have worsened the prior symptoms.
So, if you or someone you know is suffering from lower back pain, don’t ignore it! Your Lower Back Pain can be caused by Spinal Degeneration! Get it checked today, to assess your situation. After all, prevention is better than cure!