Lexicon

Degenerative changes

(= wearout)

The joints, tendants and ligaments throughout the entire body are subject to aging and stress-relating changes.These degeneratives changes are often cause of pains in the area os of the spine ort the joints. These are often marking the premiliary stage of osteoarthrosis. Since not too long ago, there is speculation that there could be some genetic predisposition.

Degenerative changes is a term used mainly for attrition in the area of the spine. If there are signs of attrition in other joints it is referred to as osteoarthrosis. Degenerative changes can occur at every joint of the spine, but most often they are found in the area of the cervical vertrebrae C3/4, C5/6 or the lumbar vertrebrae L1/2 and L4/5.

With posture correction, specific exercises and if necessary manual mobilization of joints, accompanying symptomes of degenerative change such as a feeling of stiffness, muscle tension and/or pain can be prevented or improved. Degenerative changes in the spine can be divided into the following stages:

Stage 1: Instability

First signs of disc degeneration

  • First occurrence of pain during exercise
  • Slipped discs are most common at this stage

Stage 2: Bone reaction

  • Jagged egdes to the vertebral bodies (ostephytes, also called spondylosis)
  • These changes can be found in the advanced age of almost all human beings, but usually with no or only minor symptomes

Stage 3: Stiffening

  • Increased stiffening of the spine. The body attemps to stabilise itself by the stiffening of the vertebrae
  • Due to this stiffening of the vertebrae in one place, often medcial conditions occur in another section of the spine, which must compensate fort he lost motion.
Degeneration in the cervical spine

Because of the close anatomical relatonship of the vertebral artery and the vegetative nervous system to the cervical spine, especially to the upper cervical vertebrae, degenerative changes can also cause vascular and vegetative symptomes such as dizziness or blurred vision. It can also be a pain projection in an upper extremity, which is referred to as shoulder-hand-syndrom. The cervical vertebrae in the region of C5/6 and C6/7 are most often affected by attrition.

Degeneration in the thoracic spine

Pain can be caused by a blockage of the small vertrebal joints and the joints between the vertebrae and ribs. These pains are usually sensitive to local pressure and radiate like a belt from the rear of the upper back side to the front.

Herniated discs in the thoracic spine are very rare. But degenerative changes of the upper thoracic vertebrae together with strained muscles in this area shouldn’t be ignored, it can often cause vegetative symptomes such as headaches, vertigo, unusually frequent and heavy sweating etc.

Degeneration in the lumbar spine
  • Back Pain
  • Lumbago, low-back pain
  • Claudicatio spinalis: spinal stenosis