How serious is degenerative spinal disease?

Luke Macyszyn, MD
The degenerative process itself is normal and benign. However, sometimes the resulting compression on the spinal cord may become very severe and this can lead to spinal cord dysfunction (myelopathy). In this case, surgery is required to prevent further spinal cord damage.

Degenerative spinal diseases affect everyone differently. For example, some people may suffer from a herniated disk but have no symptoms, while others may experience chronic back and neck pain. Left untreated, some degenerative spinal diseases will continue to worsen, becoming so serious that some people may experience nerve deficits and a loss of bladder and bowel control. Chronic pain can also have a serious emotional impact, leading to feelings of depression, anxiety, and frustration in some people. If you suffer from a degenerative spinal disease, talk to your doctor about your treatment options. While degenerative spinal diseases can have serious physical and emotional effects, with proper treatment you can live a full, active life.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.