Between each vertebra of the spinal column there is a semi-flexible disc that acts as a shock absorber for the body. The intervertebral discs help in load-bearing work, as well as any activity requiring movement or flexion of the spine. Over time, these discs naturally degrade (disc degeneration), but injuries, poor diet, weight gain, repetitive stress, or structural deformities can all accelerate the degenerative process. Sufficient trauma may cause the disc to rupture—a serious condition that can cause the two surrounding vertebrae to compress spinal nerves, causing extreme pain and possible muscle weakness and loss of sensation. Expert doctors / neurosurgeons / spine surgeons at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX have a vast amount of experience in treating patients with pain related to disc degeneration, degenerative disc disease , neck pain, low back pain, and sciatica.
If the progression of disc degeneration is significantly faster than normal, the patient may have a structural deformity that is contributing to the problem. A thorough medical exam is advised, during which the attending physician may advise several imaging tests to accurately diagnose the cause of the accelerated degeneration. Typically, the most advanced degeneration occurs in the lumbar and sacral regions of the spine (low on the spinal column), due to the constant load-bearing stress placed on these intervertebral discs in the standing and sitting positions. Dr. Gary Kraus and Dr. Masaki Oishi, neurosurgeons at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, find that most patients suffering from herniated disc of the lumbar spine and cervical spine, can be treated without the need for an operation. Very often, the pain of the low back or neck pain, and any associated radicular symptoms such as sciatica, often improve without surgical treatment.
Patients who are extremely active in sports or manual labor may find that drastic changes to their daily lifestyle are necessary. A regimen of physical therapy will offer instruction in new lifting techniques, as well as core strengthening exercises that will help develop the muscles of the torso. As core strengthening improves, the network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the torso will begin to relieve some of the load-bearing stress from the spine.
More severe cases of disc degeneration may necessitate surgical procedures. Modern advancements in medical technology have improved the artificial disc to the point that it can mimic a natural disc both in function and durability. Other surgical procedures—such as spinal fusion—may be used in severe cases of disc degeneration to reduce the possibility of compressed spinal nerves. Many of these procedures are quite costly and have lengthy rehabilitation periods, however, so they are often advised only when absolutely necessary to improve the quality of a patient’s daily life.
Patients in Houston, as well as other parts of Texas and the United States, are welcome to contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute, for treatment of their degenerative disc disease, or any other low back pain, neck pain, or sciatica.
The Kraus Back and Neck Institute is very convenient to, and routinely treats patients in Houston, Katy, Memorial, Westchase, Inner Loop, Galleria, the Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Beaumont, Tomball, and Galveston.
Keywords: Houston, physical therapy, disc degeneration, spinal column, core strengthening, sciatica, Katy, Memorial, Westchase, Inner Loop, Galleria, the Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Beaumont, Tomball, and Galveston