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Stages of Spinal Degeneration: What You Need to Know

Many seniors find they can’t enjoy their golden years because of pain or limited mobility. A common cause of such symptoms is spinal degeneration, a deterioration that can start early in life and progress to a debilitating stage. This guide will help you learn about the stages of spinal degeneration and how chiropractic care can help keep the spine healthy.

Stage 1 – Dysfunction
As the spine begins to deteriorate, its curvature begins to change and show signs of misalignment. The spinal muscles and ligament start to weaken. There may be some soft tissue irritation, but it won’t necessarily cause pain. Because they don’t feel any discomfort, many patients aren’t aware they need treatment, and, unfortunately, the disease progresses silently to the next stage.

Stage 2 – Instability
Spinal degeneration becomes more apparent in this stage. Patients may start to feel mild symptoms, such as achiness or stiffness. Others may start to feel uncomfortable doing normal activities, such as walking or lifting. A patient might start to notice a decrease in height.

Stage 3 – Stabilization
Also called late-stage degeneration, this is the most serious phase. Bone spurs narrow the spinal canal, which presses onto the spinal cord or nerve roots. This condition, called spinal stenosis, triggers pressure that can cause limb pain, tingling, and numbness. During this stage, patients may find they lose control of the legs. Some patients will also lose the ability to close their eyes and know whether one of their limbs is raised or lowered.

If you are living with late-stage spinal degeneration, your quality of life will suffer. You might start losing time at work or the ability to do the things you love, such as gardening or golf.

Chiropractic treatment for spinal degeneration
Chiropractors are trained to look for early warning signs of spinal degeneration. If the condition is caught early enough, spinal manipulations can correct problems in the spine before permanent damage is done. If you already live with an advanced state of spinal degeneration, chiropractic care can help relieve painful symptoms.