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What are degenerative endplate changes?

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Quick Answer

Discogenic end plate changes, which contribute to degenerative spine disease, refer to the degeneration and potential dysfunction of the end plates, explains Laser Spine Institute. Causes of discogenic end plate changes include aging, pressure from a herniated disc, overuse and improper lifting.

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Full Answer

The vertebrae in the spine are divided by cushioning discs, states Laser Spine Institute. An area of thickened bone called an end plate lies above and below each vertebra. Similar to discs in the spine, it is possible for end plates to degenerate naturally and cause various spinal conditions.

Aging is the common reason for discogenic end plate changes, as the thickened bones tend to become damaged from daily wear and tear, says Laser Spine Institute. Factors such as overuse and improper lifting may also cause the endplates to become deformed and dysfunctional. When the end plate becomes disconnected from the disc, the oxygen and nutrients that the disc usually obtains from it is interrupted.

End plate changes may lead to severe degenerative disc problems that cause life-changing effects, notes Laser Spine Institute. Nonsurgical treatments for degenerative disc conditions include anti-inflammatory medications, pain-relieving drugs, physical therapy and exercise. Acupuncture and weight management plans are also nonsurgical treatment methods. Doctors may recommend minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat serious cases of degenerative disc problems.

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