Degenerative Spine Disease Information

Degenerative spine disease is a general term that describes any of a number of conditions that affect the spine as it ages over time. The spine consists of a series of vertebrae and intervertebral discs that provide stability, support, and protection for the spinal cord. However, when parts of the spine begin to deteriorate, they can cause problems if they lose functionality or interfere with the spinal nerves.

Some of the most common types of degenerative spine disease include:

  • Spinal osteoarthritis – This form of arthritis affects the spine and involves cartilage breakdown that can result in painful bone-on-bone contact when moving.
  • Degenerative disc disease – The discs that serve as padding between each vertebra can deteriorate as they age, developing small tears that can result in thinning discs, bulging discs, or herniated discs that can be painful if they come in contact with a nerve root or result in vertebral bones rubbing against each other.
  • Spondylolisthesis – This degenerative spine disease condition involves a vertebra slipping out of alignment, typically in the low back where the spine endures the most pressure.
  • Bone spurs – Small growths of bone on the vertebrae can cause pain when they come in contact with a spinal nerve or another bone in the spine.
  • Spinal stenosis – The spinal canal may narrow over time due to the growth of bone spurs or tissue that intrude on the space where the spinal cord is.
  • Foraminal stenosis – The foramina are the openings where nerve roots branch out from the spinal cord. Foraminal stenosis is a condition in which these openings become narrow and can compress part of the spinal nerve.
  • Pinched nerves – A pinched, or compressed, nerve is any nerve that has pressure on it. A pinched nerve in the spine can result in pain both at the site of the nerve, but also radiating out to the extremities.
  • Sciatica – This is a degenerative spine disease condition in which the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down to the legs, is pinched or otherwise compressed.

Tampa General Hospital treats a wide range of spinal conditions, including those that are considered a degenerative spine disease. Our team of neurosurgeons, physicians, and other medical professionals develop targeted treatment plans that are most effective for each individual patient’s specific needs. Treatments for spine disorders can include minimally invasive spine surgery as well as conservative, non-surgical treatment.