Degenerative spine diseases can hamper quality of life and need preventive changes from a young age


Bhubaneswar : Degenerative disease refers to the loss of normal tissue structure and function as a result of the aging process. It may result in pain and involve the intervertebral disc, the vertebral body, and/or the facet joint. On World Spine Day, awareness must be raised on recognizing signs such as sharp pain in the back or spine and getting diagnosed on time.

Some degenerative diseases include herniated disc (problem with a rubbery disc between the spinal bones), facet joint pathologies (abnormal pelvic tilt and rotation of the hip secondary to tight hamstrings, hip rotators, etc.), and osteophytes (also known as bone spurs). Apart from age, these can be the outcome of a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle as well as wrong posture.

Speaking about this, Dr Siddharth Shankar Sahoo, Neurosurgeon, Bhubaneswar, said, “It is imperative to not ignore spinal problems or pain. While an occasional back pain is fine, something that is recurrent can indicate a more serious problem. Left untreated, problems with the spine can worsen and become quite serious. Lifestyle changes can help in preventing spinal problems later in life. It is important to undertake regular physical activity, stay hydrated, and ensure that your posture is right.”

Adding further, Dr Sahoo, said, “Many people are suffering from recurrent back pain during COVID-19 due to work from home scenario and excessive gadget use. This can lead to complications over time, some of which may require treatment. Some common conditions that indicate the need for a minimally invasive spine surgery include severe disc degeneration, misaligned vertebrae, or traumatic fracture.”

A minimally invasive surgery is enabled by intra-operative nerve monitoring and other powered tools. With the use of dilator tubes, the surgeon will access the lumbar spine through small skin incisions and tunnels created by separating muscle along its natural divisions. Following placement of bone graft, the surgeon uses a special “live action” X-ray machine called a fluoroscope to visualize the spine and determine where to place the screws. A stiff wire (called a guidewire) is inserted through skin and muscle to the screw insertion point on one vertebra. The dilator tubes are slowly passed down over the guidewire, creating tunnels through the muscle to the target screw placement area. A screw, attached to a screw extender, is inserted through the muscle to the vertebra. The process is repeated for the second screw placement. A minimally invasive system is then used to insert the rods through the screws. The screw extenders and rod inserter are removed. The separated muscle flows back together, and the skin incisions are closed, leaving only thumbnail-sized skin incisions.


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