Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: August 20, 2018
As we get older, our body slowly starts to break down. It’s a natural process, but it’s one that we want to slow down if possible. One such area of our body that is prone to degeneration are our spinal discs.
Thinning spinal discs are a byproduct of the aging process, and it happens when the gel-like nucleus of the disc begins to lose fluid. It can also occur if the outer layer of the spinal disc becomes arthritic and brittle. When any or all of these problems develop, your spinal discs lose height and the ability to serve as a cushion between vertebrae.
Symptoms of a Thinning Disc
Aside from regionalized pain in the area of the spinal disc, common symptoms associated with a thinning disc include:
- Pain that worsens with movement
- Loss of range of motion
- Muscle weakness
- Radiating pain or discomfort
Left untreated, it’s unlikely that symptoms will get better on their own. In fact, symptoms are likely to get worse unless actively treated. Also, if you don’t confront the problem head on, you’re at risk for related issues, like a bulging or herniated spinal disc, as well as nerve problems.
Treating A Thinning Spinal Disc
The good news is that a thinning disc can usually be treated quite well with conservative treatment options. You’re not going to be able to regain the height you lost with conservative options, but it can help prevent further disc height loss and help keep symptoms at bay. Common non-operative treatment options include exercise, stretching techniques, physical therapy, behavior modification, pain medications and spinal injections.
If pain persists despite targeted treatment techniques, surgery may be an option, but it is usually reserved for severe cases. There are different surgical techniques, but one of the more common operations is an artificial disc replacement, where the thin disc is removed and replaced with an artificial disc that mimics the actions of the healthy spinal disc.
To learn more about the operation, or to get an opinion on your disc pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.