NewZNew (Chandigarh) : As many as 110 senior citizens from tricity attended a health talk on ‘spinal degeneration due to aging’ at Max Super Speciality Hospital (MSSH), Mohali today.
Addressing them , Dr Nitin Yogesh, Consultant-Neurosurgery, MSSH said that in the normal process of ageing, like all other body organs, spine too underwent change. The common problem was degeneration of the intervertebral discs and facet joints which could cause pain in the neck or back. In case, a nerve root was compressed, the pain could radiate to the leg or arm. Degenerative changes could also cause laxity in the spine which resulted in abnormal movement between the vertebrae.
“Another problem which commonly occurred particularly among aged women was weakening of bone known as osteoporosis. Sometimes patients with known cancer might also develop pain if the cancer cells would spread to the spine. But spinal symptoms might rarely be the first presentation of an unknown cancer. It was critical to take care of the spine in order to ensure a healthy life ahead. Now in spinal treatment, surgery could also be suggested. Surgery of spine has become very safe and provided very good results. Interestingly minimally invasive procedures were also available which caused very less surgical trauma and ensure faster recovery.”
Dr Yogesh further informed that women were more vulnerable to disorders arising from spinal degeneration because their bones were typically smaller and lighter than males. This was evident from the fact that 80% of patients diagnosed with osteoporosis were women. In addition, loss of bone mass accelerated as estrogen levels declined, especially in the first five to eight years after menopause. In fact, osteoporotic spine fractures were a common cause of back pain in elderly women. Women with low body weights were also at risk of conditions associated with an aging spine. Excessive dieting or eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa, could contribute to bone loss.”
Talking about signs of spinal problems, he explained that these could be loss of bone density, spinal fracture even from minor trauma, stiffness, decreased range of motion in the joints like difficulty in bending, twisting, or walking, discomfort or pain after long periods of sitting or standing, difficulty in getting up from a sitting position, difficulty in lifting heavy objects, loss of flexibility and increased susceptibility to back problems in colder weather.”