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Degenerative Spine Conditions

  • What are Degenerative Spine Conditions?

    Degenerative Spine Conditions involve gradual wear and tear to the discs, joints and bones of the spine that typically occurs in older people. These changes may eventually place pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in a variety of symptoms.

    Degenerative spinal changes may include:

    • Bony spurring (Osteophytes)
    • Decreased disc height
    • Loss of joint cartilage
    • Thickening of bone
  • Degenerative Spine Conditions are more common in people:

    • With a history of lower back pain or trauma to the spine
    • With lifestyles that have involved large amounts of lifting, bending, twisting or sitting activities
  • Minor degeneration may cause few or no symptoms. As the condition progresses, you may experience:

    • General lower back stiffness
    • Loss of spinal movement
    • Low back pain

    With more severe degeneration involving spinal cord or nerve compression, you may experience:

    • Pain
    • Pins and needles
    • Weakness or numbness in the lower back, buttocks, groin, legs or feet

    Symptoms may be worse during activities that repetitively or continuously straighten or extend the spine or during activities that place weight on the spine such as lifting, prolonged standing or walking. Symptoms tend to ease during activities that bend the spine (sitting) or take weight off it (lying down).

  • Physiotherapy treatment for patients with spinal degeneration is important to assist with pain relief, improve flexibility and strength, and to ensure an optimal outcome. This may comprise:

    • A back brace or back taping
    • Activity modification advice
    • Dry needling
    • Electrotherapy (ultrasound)
    • Exercises to improve flexibility, strength and core stability
    • Hydrotherapy
    • Ice or heat treatment
    • Mobilisation
    • Pilates
    • Soft tissue massage
    • Traction
    • Walking aids
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