The most common forms of degenerative spine problems are herniated discs, osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis, according to UC Davis Spine Center. Herniated discs happen when the cushioning disc between vertebrae ruptures and presses on the spinal nerve, according to WebMD. Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage between the vertebrae breaks down, and spinal stenosis is when the spinal canal narrows.
The symptoms of these conditions include pain, says UC Davis Spine Center. The pain can be sharp or chronic, and the patient feels it when he moves or when he's at rest. The spine is also somewhat deformed, and the patient's movements are limited. Because these conditions compress the spinal nerves, injury to the nerve can occur. The symptoms of this are loss of sensation, incontinence, weakness and sexual dysfunction.
Doctors use X-rays, MRIs and CT scans to diagnose degenerative spine conditions, according to UC Davis Spine Center. Often, the conditions respond to nonsurgical treatment, such as rest, braces, pain medications and epidural injections. Exercise and physical therapy are also helpful for a person who suffers from a degenerative spine condition, says WebMD. If the condition does not respond to these treatments, the patient may need to undergo spinal surgery. In herniated disc surgery, for example, the surgeon removes the damaged disc and fuses the bone in the area together.