Your spine is subjected to millions of cycles of stress over the course of a lifetime. So, most people experience some level of degeneration in the spine well before age 50. In many cases, degenerative spine conditions come with no symptoms. But if you have back pain that makes it difficult to do the things you enjoy, it’s time to see a spine specialist.
Degenerative Spine Conditions We Treat
There are many age-related changes that may affect your spine, and numerous conditions that may result. Our team can help diagnose and treat spine problems related to:
- Thinning of discs between the vertebrae (degenerative disc disease)
- Overgrowth of bone and thickening of ligaments in the spinal joints
- Narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis)
- Wear and tear of cartilage inside the joints (spinal arthritis)
- Pinching of the spinal cord (myelopathy) or nerves exiting the spine (radiculopathy)
- Bulging or herniation of spinal discs
- Fractured vertebrae
- Complications from prior back pain procedures (spinal cord stimulator removal)
Surgery for Degenerative Spine Conditions
For most of these conditions, nonsurgical approaches such as physical therapy, steroid injections and massage are considered the first line of treatment. However, they don’t offer the desired relief for everyone.
It may be time to consider spine surgery if your symptoms significantly interfere with your lifestyle, or if you experience steadily increasing bowel or bladder dysfunction, balance issues, or shooting pains or weakness in the arms or legs.
Our team can help you decide if surgery is the best option and determine if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive techniques.
Our Degenerative Spine Specialists
Degenerative Disk Disease: Jan’s Story
At 78, Jan Greer wanted to stay active and athletic. Herniated disks, stenosis and other degenerative back problems were causing him unbearable pain. When the pain became too much to bear, he turned to Dr. Ali Bydon at Johns Hopkins.
Thoracic Disc Herniation: Pedro's Story
Pedro Gil was hardly able to move before he came to Johns Hopkins. His thoracic herniated disc had calcified, causing excruciating pain, weakness, numbness and even paralysis. Other doctors told Pedro he might never walk again. At Johns Hopkins, the message was different.