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What are the treatment options for a degenerative spine?

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Quick Answer

Treatment for a degenerative spine may include heat and cold therapy, physical therapy, medication or surgery, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Degeneration of the spine is a normal part of aging and affects nearly everyone over the age of 60; however, not all who have this condition experience back pain.

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Full Answer

For home care of degenerative spine pain, WebMD recommends using heat or cold therapy by choosing the option that brings the most relief. Over-the-counter medication is often helpful in relieving the pain. If these medications and therapies do not bring relief, a doctor may prescribe stronger medication.

If the degeneration leads to conditions such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis or a herniated disc, the patient may need other treatment such as physical therapy or exercises that stretch and strengthen the back, notes WebMD. Braces or epidural administration of pain medication are other options, explains UC Davis Spine Center.

For patients who do not receive pain relief with the more conservative measures, surgery may be an option, states WebMD. During the surgical procedure, the doctor usually removes the damaged disc from the spine. He then fuses the two vertebrae to provide protection for the spine. In some rare instances, the surgeon inserts an artificial disc during the procedure.

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