Degenerative spine conditions involve the gradual loss of normal structure and function of the spine over time. They are usually caused by aging, but may also be the result of tumors, infections or arthritis. Pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots caused by degeneration can be caused by:
- Slipped or herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal
- Osteoarthritis, or breakdown of the cartilage at the spinal joints
The intervertebral discs are soft, gel-like cushions that sit between the vertebral bones of the spine and act as shock absorbers, providing flexibility and allowing movement. With degenerative spine, these discs lose their water content, become thinner, and may develop tiny cracks or tears. As a result, the discs lose some of their ability to cushion and support the spine.
Degenerative Spine Symptoms:
Degenerative disc disease most commonly occurs in the cervical spine (neck) or the lumbar spine (lower back), as these areas of the spine undergo the most motion and are most susceptible to wear and tear.
Possible symptoms of cervical degenerative disc disease include radiating pain in the shoulders, arms, and hands.
The most indicative symptom of degenerative disc disease is a low-grade, continuous pain around the degenerating disc that occasionally flares up into more severe, potentially disabling pain.
Pain flare-ups can be related to recent activity and abnormal stress on the spine, or they may arise suddenly with no obvious cause. Episodes can last between a few days to several weeks before returning to low levels of pain or temporarily going away entirely.
Key features and effects of degenerative spine include:
Pain and Discomfort: As the discs degenerate, they can cause pain, stiffness, and discomfort in the affected area of the spine. This pain can radiate to other areas, such as the arms or legs, depending on the location of the degenerated discs and any associated nerve compression.
Nerve Compression: Degenerative discs can lead to the narrowing of the spaces through which spinal nerves pass, a condition known as spinal stenosis. This can result in nerve compression, leading to symptoms such as numbness, tingling, weakness, or shooting pain in the arms, legs, or other parts of the body.
Changes in Spinal Alignment: As the discs lose height and the spine's stability is compromised, the body may respond by forming bone spurs (osteophytes) around the affected vertebrae. These bone spurs can contribute to changes in spinal alignment and potentially narrow the spinal canal, further exacerbating nerve compression.
Reduced Mobility and Flexibility: The loss of disc height and flexibility can impact the spine's range of motion, leading to stiffness and decreased mobility.
Risk Factors: Factors that can contribute to degenerative spine include age, genetics, repetitive strain, poor posture, smoking, and obesity.
It's important to note that the term "degenerative disc disease" can be misleading, as it's not actually a disease but rather a natural and common process that occurs with aging. While degenerative spine can cause discomfort and pain, many people with mild to moderate degenerative changes in their spines do not experience severe symptoms and can manage their condition through conservative treatments such as physical therapy, pain management techniques, exercise, and lifestyle modifications.
In cases where symptoms are more severe or do not respond to conservative treatments, medical interventions such as epidural injections or surgical procedures may be considered. It's advisable to consult a healthcare professional if you are experiencing persistent or worsening symptoms related to degenerative spine.
Kintaro Stem Cells® / KINTARO Cells® Japan VIP Rejuvenation Program provides a new approach to Non Surgical Spine Treatment, delivering high impact results for people wishing to avoid spinal surgery.
So far, our patients report the following outcomes:
Relief of pain and symptoms (Decrease)
Reversal of the degeneration cascade
Maintaining the spine shape
Retention of mechanical function
Increased range of motion
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