Minimally Invasive Surgery For Degenerative Disc Disease And Arthritis Of The Spine
USA Spine Care provides minimally invasive spine surgery to treat degenerative disc disease and arthritis that can potentially treat patients with one or both of these spine conditions.
Some patients may be recommended a minimally invasive decompression surgery, which removes a small portion of the spinal anatomy that is impacting a nerve root and causing pain. Some procedures involve a technique known as a facet thermal ablation to relieve pain related to facet joint arthritis.
Other patients may be recommended for minimally invasive stabilization surgery, which involves the removal of the entire damaged disc and the insertion of an implant to stabilize the spine and decompress the affected nerve.
All of our minimally invasive procedures are performed through a small incision that involves muscle-sparing techniques, allowing our patients to experience less risk complication and a shorter recovery time^ than patients who opt for traditional open back surgery or fusion.
To help you find out if you may be a potential candidate for one of our procedures, we are pleased to offer a no-cost MRI review.*
What Other Tests Might Be Done
he main reason to perform more tests is if the symptoms are getting worse despite treatment, if the pain is severe or if you have signs of nerve damage â particularly nerve damage that is getting worse. The signs of worsening nerve damage would be increasing tingling or numbness, weakness and sometimes increasing pain. If the physician is concerned that you might have a pinched nerve, then the best tests would be an MRI of the neck or occasionally a computed tomography scan. Another test that can be done to see if the nerves are involved is called an electromyography or a nerve conduction study . In these two tests, a physician uses instruments to evaluate the muscles and nerves to see if they are carrying the signals from the spine to the arms properly. This test can evaluate several different nerves in your arms to see if the nerve is pinched at the neck or at some other place, such as the wrist .
What Are Degenerative Disc Disease Symptoms
Degeneration of the disc tissue makes the disc more susceptible to herniation. Degenerative spondylosis is another name for degeneration of disc tissue. Degeneration of the disc can cause local pain in the affected area. Any level of the spine can be affected by disc degeneration. When disc degeneration affects the spine of the neck, it is referred to as cervical disc disease. When the mid-back is affected, the condition is referred to as thoracic disc disease. Disc degeneration that affects the lumbar spine can cause low back pain or irritation of a spinal nerve to cause pain radiating down the leg . Lumbago causes pain localized to the low back and is common in older people. Degenerative arthritis of the facet joints that can be detected with plain X-ray testing is also a cause of localized lumbar pain. The pain from degenerative disc or joint disease of the spine is usually treated conservatively with intermittent heat, rest, rehabilitative exercises, and medications to relieve pain, muscle spasm, and inflammation.
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What Is The Treatment For Degenerative Disc Disease Radiculopathy And Sciatica
The treatment of degenerative disc disease, radiculopathy, and sciatica ranges from nonsurgical management to surgery. Medical management of radiculopathy includes patient education of the condition, medications to relieve pain and muscles spasm , cortisone injection around the spinal cord , physical therapy , chiropractic manipulation and rest . With unrelenting pain, severe impairment of function, or incontinence , surgery may be necessary. The operation performed depends on the overall status of the spine and the age and health of the patient. Procedures include removal of the herniated disc with laminotomy , laminectomy , by needle technique through the skin , disc-dissolving procedures , and others.
What Is The Design Of The Spine
The vertebrae are the bony building blocks of the spine. Between each of the largest part of the vertebrae are the discs. Ligaments are situated around the spine and discs. The spine has seven vertebrae in the neck , 12 vertebrae in the mid-back , and five vertebrae in the low back . In addition, in the mid-buttock beneath the fifth lumbar vertebra are five sacral vertebrae usually fused as the sacrum bone followed by the tailbone .
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Who Can Help Me With My Arthritis Pain
If your joints continue to cause pain despite conservative treatment methods, you may be a candidate for minimally invasive surgery at Advanced Bone & Joint. We specialize in both non-surgical and minimally invasive surgery to treat degenerative joint disease, arthritis, and other orthopedic conditions.
Our simple outpatient procedures require less than a 1-inch incision and often have shorter recovery times compared with traditional open surgery.
Degenerative joint disease can cause pain for many months or longer, but you dont need to suffer through it. Seek medical attention early, and an orthopedic specialist will help you get your joints back in working order in no time.
Contact Advanced Bone & Joint today to schedule an appointment with our orthopedic specialists. Call 229-4222 today, or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to helping you enjoy an active lifestyle again.
How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose Degenerative Disc Disease Radiculopathy And Sciatica
Degenerative disc disease, radiculopathy, and sciatica are suspected when the symptoms described above are noted. The doctor can sometimes detect signs of irritated nerves during the examination. For example, increased radiating pain when the lower extremity is lifted supports the diagnosis of lumbar radiculopathy. Nerve testing of the lower extremities can be used to detect the nerve irritation. Health care professionals can visualize degenerative spondylosis using plain film X-ray imaging of the spine, CAT, or MRI scanning. The actual disc herniation can be detected with radiology testing, such as CAT or MRI scanning.
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What Is Degenerative Disc Disease What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease
As we age, the water and protein content of the cartilage of the body changes. This change results in weaker, more fragile, and thin cartilage. Because both the discs and the joints that stack the vertebrae are partly composed of cartilage, these areas are subject to wear and tear over time . The gradual deterioration of the disc between the vertebrae is referred to as degenerative disc disease, sometimes abbreviated DDD. Wear of the facet cartilage and the bony changes of the adjacent joint is referred to as degenerative facet joint disease or osteoarthritis of the spine. Trauma injury to the spine can also lead to degenerative disc disease.
Degeneration of the disc space and its contents is medically referred to as spondylosis. Spondylosis can be noted on X-ray tests or MRI scanning of the spine as a narrowing of the normal disc space between the adjacent vertebrae.
Degenerative Joint Disease Vs Arthritis
When youre dealing with pain in your spine or any other joint in your body, medical terminology doesnt mean a whole lot to you. As far as youre concerned, pain is pain no matter what its called.
So when your doctor mentions degenerative joint disease as the cause of your discomfort, you might find yourself asking, how is that different from arthritis?
It isnt. Degenerative joint disease is just another name for osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis and it occurs when the components of a joint wear down. So whether we call it degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis, or arthritis, were really talking about the same condition.
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The Role Of Arthritis With Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative arthritis of the spine, or spinal osteoarthritis, often accompanies degenerative disc disease because both conditions are age-related conditions caused by the breakdown of connective tissue. Spinal osteoarthritis refers to the inflammation, pain and swelling of joints near the vertebrae, called facet joints. This is related to the breakdown of the cartilage between the facet joints, which can further lead to bone spurs, spinal stenosis, pain and stiffness.
Common symptoms of degenerative disc disease and arthritis overlap, including:
- Neck and back pain
- Muscle weakness, stiffness or soreness
- Loss of mobility and flexibility
- Tingling or numbness in the extremities
Often, these conditions only require conservative treatments like physical therapy, hot or cold packs, and pain medication. However in some cases the symptoms of spine degeneration can persist despite exhausting conservative options and surgery can become an option. Patients considering surgery should contact USA Spine Care to learn more about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery.
What Can Cause Arthritis To Get Worse
Degenerative simply refers to what happens to our joints as we get older they start to deteriorate after years of wear and tear. This natural aging process cannot be entirely avoided, but there are a certain lifestyle and work-related activities that put excessive strain on your joints and can hasten their deterioration, such as:
- Tasks that involve frequent repetitive motions or heavy lifting
- High-impact sports, like football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, rugby, running, karate, racquetball, or waterskiing
- A sedentary lifestyle
- A previous joint injury
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Osteoarthritis Of The Spine And Disc Degeneration
Medical practitioners often refer to osteoarthritis in the spine as spinal arthritis, degenerative joint disease, or arthritis of the facet joints. Spinal arthritis is relatively common and is most likely to occur in people over age fifty. It represents an ongoing, degenerative process in the spine, and may be associated with a number of other degenerative spinal conditions. In particular, osteoarthritis is associated with degenerative discs in the spine.
See What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative discs and osteoarthritis often occur hand in hand because the disc and facet joints are both part of the same three-joint complex. It is thought that degenerating discs can place undue stress on the facet joints, thus over time leading to degeneration and formation of osteoarthritis in the facet joints . This may be why the two degenerative conditions are so often seen together.
See Facet Joint Disorders and Back Pain
If the disc as well as the facet joints become painful as a result of degenerative changes in the spine, the condition is often called spondylosis. However, degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis are different conditions and can occur separately: one can have degenerative discs without any facet osteoarthritis or one can have facet osteoarthritis without degenerative discs.
Where Does Arthritis Happen
Arthritis can happen in practically every joint. Common areas include the neck, the lower back, the hips, knees, toes and fingers. In the case of the spine, it is usually called degenerative joint disease or degenerative disc disease. In other areas of the body we usually call it osteoarthritis.
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So Are Degenerative Disc Disease And Arthritis The Same Thing
Degenerative disc disease describes changes to the discs in the spinal column. But, as we talked about earlier, many people with DDD will have no pain. Therefore, these individuals would not be said to have arthritis.
However, in other individuals, DDD may cause the intervertebral discs to wear down so significantly that the vertebrae rub together as they move. The resulting pain would be an example of osteoarthritis of the spine.
So, are DDD and arthritis the same? Not really. But they can be related. DDD can cause spinal osteoarthritis in some patients.
The key difference is that degenerative disc disease describes what is happening to the spinal discs. These changes in the discs can then lead to arthritis or radiculopathy such as sciatica or a pinched nerve in the neck.
How Degenerative Disc Disease And Spondylosis Begin
Degenerative Disc Disease is a spinal condition caused by the breakdown of your intervertebral discs. As you age, your spine begins to show signs of wear and tear because your discs dry out and shrink. These age-related changes can lead to arthritis, disc herniation, or spinal stenosis. All these factors can put pressure on your spinal cord and nerves, which may cause back pain and bring on DDD or spondylosis.
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Can I Treat Degenerative Disk Disease At Home
Some people find pain relief through at-home remedies. At-home treatments may decrease pain for a short time. But they are not a long-term treatment for severely degenerated disks. You may try:
- Exercise: Low-impact activity such as walking or swimming can strengthen back muscles and relieve some pain.
- Hot and cold therapy: Alternating ice packs and heating pads every 10 to 15 minutes up to three to four times per day may reduce soreness and inflammation.
- Stretching: Gentle yoga and stretching throughout the day may improve posture and relieve tension.
Living With Degenerative Arthritis
Once you know what degenerative arthritis is and how it can affect your spine, neck, and knees, the next step is managing the pain so you can continue living a full life.
The first key to living with degenerative arthritis is movement. Multiple studies have found that regular exercise allows people with degenerative arthritis to stay healthy by building muscle to stabilize and support damaged joints.
Other research has found that managing your weight through diet and exercise can also help degenerative arthritis by reducing the strain on your joints. Physical therapy can target and strengthen affected joints, while painkillers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, may reduce stiffness, swelling, and discomfort.
To learn about managing degenerative arthritis, talk to a doctor about your symptoms and where you are experiencing pain. Early treatment will help you stay active, healthy, and independent as long as possible.
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Spinal Arthritis May Contribute To Other Issues In The Spine
Spinal arthritis may cause bone spurs overgrowths on the edges of the bones. In the spine, bone spurs particularly affect facet joints, making them grow larger. This condition is called facet joint hypertrophy. Although bone spurs on their own are not harmful, they may narrow the passages for the spinal cord and the nerves exiting the spine. This may lead to two painful conditions:
Spinal stenosis compression of the spinal cord inside the spinal canal
Radiculopathy pinching of the peripheral nerves as they exit the spine
Ankylosing spondylitis may also cause additional problems such as:
Stress fractures in places where new bone has formed
A spinal deformity called kyphosis
Extracellular Matrix And Biomechanical Properties
The intervertebral disc and articular joint absorb and distribute the loads that are imposed by muscle force and gravity on the vertebrae and adjacent bones, respectively. To counterbalance the loads, an intradiscal pressure is found in the NP and an intraarticular pressure in the AC.44, 45 These pressures are attributed to the high concentration of negatively charged proteoglycanspredominantly aggrecanin the extracellular matrix of the NP and AC.44, 45, 46, 47, 48 Proteoglycans attract water which generates a hydrostatic pressure within the tissue. This hydrostatic pressure is essential for the NP and AC to provide a healthy mechanobiological stimulus to the cells, and dynamic loading is necessary for transport of nutrients and waste products.49, 50
Besides proteoglycans, the ECM of the NP and AC contains collagen, mainly collagen type II.51 The ratio of aggrecan to collagen is more than five times higher in the NP than in AC,35, 52, 53 and it is this high ratio of aggrecan that creates a high intradiscal pressure in the intervertebral disc , whereas the pressure inside AC is much lower . Toward the outer regions of the intervertebral disc, the AF becomes a more fibrous structure of mainly collagen type I,51, 56 which is able to resist tensile stresses caused by the intradiscal pressure. The articular joint capsule is also a dense fibrous connective tissue and surrounds the articular joint with a variety in thickness, depending on the applied loads.56
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How Is Spinal Arthritis Diagnosed
Your doctor may use some or all of the following diagnostic methods to confirm spinal arthritis:
Medical history and physical exam
Blood tests for genetic markers and/or RA antibodies
X-rays of the spine to locate the arthritic joint
MRI, CT scan, myelography, bone scan and/or ultrasound to zero in on the damage, detect nerve and spinal cord involvement or rule out other causes
Joint aspiration: testing of the synovial fluid inside a joint
To pinpoint the painful joint, your doctor may numb it with an injection and check whether the pain goes away.
Whats Behind Degenerative Disc Disease And Spondylosis
Spondylosis is an umbrella term often used to describe spine pain that comes from degenerative conditions. Some of the conditions people refer to as spondylosis include spinal stenosisan abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal causing leg pain, degeneration from degenerative disc disease , and degenerative arthritis of the spine. It can also include cervical osteoarthritis .
Spondylosis is a common, age-related condition that affects the joints and discs in your neck specifically. It frequently develops from wear and tear of the cartilage and bones in your neck.
While spondylosis is fairly common, it frequently worsens with age. Many individuals dont have symptoms at the outset, but some experience pain or muscle spasms. Some individuals with spondylosis choose not to seek treatment. However, if symptoms occur and worsen over time, various treatments are available. These include medications, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery.
How does Degenerative Disc Disease or Spondylosis occur? And what can be done to alleviate the pain it brings?
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How Work Injuries Aggravate These Pre
People are more likely to aggravate their degenerative disc disease when they work in manual labor jobs that require repeated heavy lifting, twisting and turning. Any job that can potentially lead to a neck or back injury can aggravate degenerative disc disease. Repetitive motion work injuries can be a serious detriment to health and a workers comp attorney can help.
When seeking workers compensation settlements for arthritis or degenerative disc disease, it is important to understand that these conditions are compensable regardless of whether the preexisting condition was work-related.
Workers compensation benefits cover work-related injuries that aggravate a preexisting condition even if that condition made the person more susceptible to future injury. When claiming compensation for an aggravation of a preexisting condition, a person must simply show that the aggravation of the injury was work related and the resulting disability prevented them from working.