WHAT IS THE ROLE OF INTERVERTEBRAL DISCS?
Intervertebral discs play an important role in the spine. They serve as shock absorbers between the vertebrae. They support the weight of the human body and allow a wide range of motions in all directions.
Spondylolisthesis is a pathological condition in which a vertebra slides forward with respect to the lower vertebra. It is a fairly common cause of back pain and affects either younger patients (30-50 years) or adults over 50 years old as a result of degenerative lesions. The most common symptoms include localized pain or even lower extremity pain that limits the patient’s level of activity.
In the context of the normal aging process, the spine presents progressively degenerative lesions in the vertebrae (bones), intervertebral discs, muscles and joints that anatomically compose the spine. All these degenerative changes lead to spinal stenosis. A stenosis is often the final result of several degenerative diseases, such as osteoarthritis (spinal arthropathy) and/or degenerative spondylolisthesis and/or disc herniation.
Osteoarthritis of the spine is one of the most common causes of back and lumbar pain in particular. It is a degenerative condition that results in the destruction (degeneration) of the cartilage between the facet joints, part of the posterior elements of the spine that causes a mechanically induced pain. Facet joints are inflamed and progressive degeneration in the articular surfaces causes increasing pain due to mechanical friction and inflammatory reaction products. At the same time, varying degrees of stiffness are observed, initially at the extreme flexion and extension positions and later on even at simple daily stances.
The intervertebral disc hernia (disc herniation), which occurs when the disc is degenerated, causing pain in the waist (back pain) and when a nerve (nerve root) is compressed, pain in the leg (sciatica).
The Endoscopic Micro-Discectomy is a minimally invasive procedure for removal of the intervertebral disc hernia
Transdermal kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of vertebral compression fractures, which are fractures of the vertebral bodies that form the spine. When a vertebral body is fractured, the usual rectangular shape of the bone is compressed causing pain. These compression fractures can occur in one or more vertebrae in the spine and are usually a consequence of osteoporosis.