Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorders: Causes and Best Treatments
Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorders will affect up to two-thirds of the population in their lifetime.
If this term has come up in conversations with your doctor, you aren’t alone. That doesn’t make it any less serious.
If you have been diagnosed with Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder, or consider yourself at risk for it, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll be covering the causes and treatments for it.
Let’s get into it!
What is a Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder?
Most people will experience some form of neck pain in their lives. For some people, this pain is an isolated incident or directly related to a neck injury sustained.
However, in the case of individuals with Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder, their neck pain is ongoing and caused by a disorder of the spine. The difference lies in the frequency and intensity of the pain the person feels.
Additionally, the neck pain associated with this disorder is felt mostly when the patient is upright, or attempting to move their head. Other symptoms associated with Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder are numbness, tingling, and other strange sensations in the neck area. Headaches can also be a symptom.
Complications of Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder include bone spurs. These can occur when the discs in your cervical spine have begun to deteriorate, and a growth on your spine occurs to relieve the stress on your spine.
Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder is a complex issue. Now that we’ve considered what this disorder is, let’s take a look at its causes.
What Causes a Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder?
As the term degenerative suggests, a Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder is caused by the breakdown of one or multiple cushioning discs in the cervical spine. This breakdown is often attributed to the “wear and tear” associated with aging.
Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder has been known to affect people as they age. Studies done by the US National Library of Medicine on degenerative spinal discs show the average age of participants to be 53.7. It’s true that people diagnosed with this disorder are often over the age of 40.
However, that doesn’t mean young people aren’t susceptible – individuals as young as 18 have been diagnosed with this disorder, too. In reality, there are a few key causes of Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder, some of which aren’t age-specific:
- • Genetics – some individuals’ genes cause the discs in their cervical spine to degenerate faster than normal, causing this disorder.
- • Age – the older you get, the more wear and tear your cervical spine discs have to endure. Additionally, as you age, your spinal discs dry out. This means that there is less fluid present to absorb the shock of movement, so it becomes painful.
- • Sports – rigorous sports and other strenuous activity can cause the outer core of the disc to deteriorate, causing degenerative cervical spine disorder as well.
One of the main reasons why Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder is such a debilitating condition is because of how permanent it is. Unlike other parts of the body, there is very little blood flow to the discs; therefore, discs can do very little to fix or regenerate themselves.
Even though this is true, rest assured that they are ways to treat this condition. Here are a few ways to do so.
How can Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder be treated?
There is no “one size fits all” solution to Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder. But, there are a few things you can do at the advice of your doctor that can alleviate the symptoms.
One way that this can be done is by doing exercises to strengthen the muscles in the affected area, which will help to lower the pain you’ll feel when doing daily physical activities. Also, improving your diet and eating more healthy and nutritious food can help to alleviate the effects of this musculoskeletal disorder.
Additionally, once you consult with your doctor, there are a few things that he or she may prescribe based on how far along your Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder is.
- • Physical therapy – at times, physical therapy under the guidance of a trained specialist may be enough to improve the symptoms associated with this disorder.
- • Hot and cold therapy – depending on the situation, your doctor may also prescribe therapy involving the use of alternating hot and cold compresses to improve discomfort.
- • Medication – if the pain is the biggest problem in your situation, your doctor may prescribe different medications to help alleviate pain and/or swelling. These medications range from acetaminophen for pain relief to ibuprofen for swelling of the area.
- • Surgery – surgery is also a viable option in some cases. The two kinds of surgery that can be done to treat Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder are spinal fusion and an artificial disk replacement.
There are a variety of other ways that Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder can be treated, such as wearing a neck brace. A brace will prevent your neck from assuming painful positions.
Additionally, most doctors agree that strengthening the muscles around the affected area can do a world of good in combating this painful musculoskeletal disorder.
I think I have Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder
Do you think you are currently suffering from Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder? If so, a visit to a doctor is in order. You’ll be able to identify if you indeed have this condition, and the steps that you can take to start alleviating the discomfort associated with it.
If surgery is the route prescribed by your doctor and you’re in the Whiting, Cedar Knolls or Hackettstown, New Jersey area, then Executive Spine Surgery run by Dr. Carl Spivak might be the solution you need. We even offer free MRI reviews and Benefits screening upon request!
Visit our Contact Us page for more information, including our locations and telephone numbers.
Degenerative Cervical Spine Disorder is a condition that doesn’t get better without treatment, so the longer you wait, the more detrimental it could be to your chances of recovery. Get in contact with us today. We’re here for you.