Spine Doctor

Dr. Galeno is trained in performing minimally invasive spine procedures to correct a spinal problem and lessen pain.

Spine Doctor

Spine Doctor | John A. Galeno MD : NY, White Plains

Aging, arthritis, tumors, muscle strain and infection put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Disc displacement, or herniation, may follow. Spinal stenosis, or the narrowing of the spinal canal, may also occur. Cartilage at the spinal joints may break down, which is called osteoarthritis.

The discs between the bones of the spine may become damaged from degeneration. They are composed of fibrous tissue, water and cartilage. The fibrous part of the disc becomes weak and the disc may bulge, break down or flatten. If the disc nucleus pushes through the damaged fibrous part, the nerves around it are pressured, causing pain.

The break down of the disc may cause bony growths which also put pressure on the spinal cord. In regard to the tightening of the spinal canal, nerves are irritated and may even cause pain in other parts of the body besides the back.

The symptoms of degenerative spine problems are quite noticeable: sharp pain, chronic pain, sensory loss, weakness and limitations of motion. Sexual function may be disrupted along with bladder and bowel control.

Surgery is not always needed to correct these problems, but an orthopedic surgeon can provide temporary pain relief with the epidural injection of steroids or pain medication. Then, with a reduction of pain, physical therapy is possible. Bed rest is often prescribed for degenerative spine disorders also.

If nonsurgical approaches do not fix the problem, surgery is recommended. An orthopedic surgeon may be able to repair a herniated disc and mend the damage. If not, a disc may need to be removed, resulting in the need for spinal fusion. Spinal fusion is described briefly on the Scoliosis Surgery page.

Most patients can return to their normal lives a few weeks after spinal fusion surgery, and their pain is alleviated. Only an orthopedic surgeon can determine whether or not surgery is the answer to a degenerative spine problem. It is best to try bed rest and physical therapy first and avoid surgery, but consulting your doctor is the only way to figure out the way to approach treatment of the spine.