As an orthopedic doctor, you must know that degenerative spine problems involve a loss of normal structure and function in the spine; these changes occur due to a trauma or because of an infection.
As the body ages, the spine itself begins to wear down. It mostly affects the discs that lose their height and no longer can support the range of the spinal movement. No matter how fit and healthy a human being may be, the herniation of a disc can and will slow down the active lifestyle, if that is the case.
If your patients are experiencing pain that is preventing them to perform their daily activities, you should assure them different treatment options. Seek a treatment that can make them get back in the game.
There are some conservative treatments where you should be able to notice a reduction on their back pain, such as yoga or physical therapy. It can help your patient to gain length and reduce pressure from the pinched nerve root. If it does not help them, it may be the time for a surgical intervention to the spine.
It all starts in the discs. The discs consist in two main components: a tough and elastic outer layer and inner fluid. The constant movement can cause pressure to push down the vertebrae and pinch the discs in between.
Surgery for degenerative spine problems are usually considered in two cases: when neurological symptoms are evident, such as trouble walking, weakness or arm numbness. If these symptoms are caused by a degenerative problem, there is a risk of permanent damage in the nerve and surgery is required; when pain is chronic and there is no improvement up to six months of non-surgical treatments.
There is the possibility of genetics playing a part here; your patient may be more likely to have an excessive disc wear or tear, if someone in their family had degenerative disc disease.
The vast majority of your patients who suffer from back pain will be able to successfully recover and avoid surgery, if you do your best to find the best treatments and improve your patient’s life.