FROM OUR EXPERTS
Spinal disc degeneration is not a disease. In other words, disc degeneratio n is not an abnormality in the normal human body. By itself, disc degeneration does not cause pain. Disc degeneration is the natural aging process that causes normal changes in the spinal discs.
Donald was sitting in the cold, sterile exam room. He comes here every year for his annual check-up with his doctor. But, this time he has a question on his mind. What is disc degeneration? His mother, who has had low back pain for a number of years, was told that her lumbar discs have degenerated. Because her pain has become so debilitating, she now uses a walker to get around. Being afraid of his future, Donald wants to learn about disc degeneration. He does not want the same fate as his mother's fate.
Even though it is inevitable, people worry about disc degeneration. All of the parts in the human body change as they age. Skin degeneration is the most visible sign of aging. Wrinkles, cracks, fissures, and lo...
Spondylolisthesis (spaun-di-lo-lie-thee-sis) is a mouthful and is a common cause of low back pain (although it can exist anywhere in the spine, the lumbar spine is the most common area affected). The spinal column is a series of building blocks called vertebral bodies stacked on top of one another. Sometimes these blocks do not line up perfectly. This slight separation in the spinal column is called a spondylolisthesis .
"Doc says I have a spondy-something-or-other. Don't ask me what it is; all I know is that it hurts". Steve tries to explain his low back condition to his friend. But, he finds that he cannot explain what he does not understand. Steve has had back pain for a number of years. Every year the pain gets worse and has now become constant. His doctor sent him for x-rays recently. The x-rays showed a spondylolisthesis with disc degeneration at L5/S1. Steve could not understand his doctor's explanation of the condition. So, now he has pain and has confusion.
Driving a car to the local mechanic to get it fixed is not the same thing as taking the human body into surgery; although, this "fix-it" attitude drives patients and surgeons alike towards surgical solutions. Lately, a growing number of people are undergoing low back surgery . A recent study examined the relationship between patient expectations and the actual outcomes from lumbar spine surgery. Because pre-surgical expectations do not always equate to the actual results, how can a person judge whether or not a surgery was successful? How can one predict surgical success?
Understanding the primary reasons for seeking surgical solutions is the first step towards discussing the likelihood of success. The top three causes for patients wanting lumbar surgery are: 1#, other therapies have failed to help; 2#, the pain is unbearable; 3#, walking has become difficult. Based on these reasons to see a surgeon, patients come to the operating room harboring certain expectations. Patients wa...
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