As we age, most of us will experience some wear and tear to the discs and vertebrae that make up the structural components of our spines. Here are the most common things that can go wrong:
1. Joint & nerve problems
- a. Spinal Arthritis-Inflammation of the facet joints between the vertebrae.
- b. Sciatica-Pain that radiates down one or both legs. It may be caused by compression of the sciatic nerve.
2. Disc Problems
- a. Degenerative Disc-a disc that is gradually wearing down and thinning over time. Most likely due to the natural aging process.
- b. Bulging Disc- one that is shifting out of its normal radius, extending beyond the circumference of the vertebrae.
- c. Herniated Disc-occurs when the inner material of the disc pushes through its outer membrane into the spinal canal.
3. Vertebra Problems
- a. Bone Spur-occurs when the body builds more bone as a natural response to the age-related deterioration of vertebrae.
- b. Spinal Stenosis-refers to a narrowing of the spinal cord, typically as a result of bone spurs or joint enlargement.
- c. Spondylolisthesis-forward or backward slippage of one vertebra relative to another, causing pressure on spinal nerves.
- d. Osteoporosis-a disease marked by progressively decreasing bone. In the spine, this can lead to a compression fracture.
Adapted from an article by Perry Garfinkel in the AARP Magazine
If you sustain an injury, consult with an experienced injury attorney. Buckland & Schumm offers free initial consultations by telephone or in person.