Treatment for Degenerative Spine/Disc Disease

If you experience symptoms of degenerative spine/disc disease, our physicians will conduct a physical examination to determine the urgency of your symptoms. Weakness is usually a sign of urgency, and if that is the case, your doctor may recommend an MRI and possibly surgery or other treatments. Pain and numbness can sometimes be treated by more conservative means.

Typically, a trial of pain medications, steroids, and physical therapy may help relieve your symptoms. If your symptoms persist, our team may refer you to a nonsurgical pain management specialist, who may be able to offer special injections.

In some cases, surgery becomes necessary. Depending on the location of the problem, the symptoms, and the MRI findings, surgery may be performed either through a minimally-invasive approach or through a more traditional "open" procedure.

Types of surgery for degenerative spine/disc disease include:

  • Diskectomy. The removal of herniated disc material pushing on a nerve or the spinal cord. A diskectomy can be performed through either "open" surgery or a minimally invasive procedure.
  • Disc replacement. Replacing injured, degenerated disc material with a man-made disc to provide support. Artificial disc replacement is not appropriate for every patient.
  • Fusion. Stabilizing the bones of your spine (vertebrae) that are structurally weak (unstable) or have too much abnormal motion. This is accomplished by implanting titanium rods and screws into your spine. Spinal fusion can be performed through either "open" surgery or a minimally invasive procedure.
  • Laminectomy. The removal of bone, ligament, or disc material that is putting pressure on your nerves. A laminectomy can be performed through either "open" surgery or a minimally invasive procedure.
  • Minimally invasive diskectomy/fusion. A procedure performed through smaller incisions than traditional "open" surgery, resulting in a shorter hospital stay, less postoperative pain, and a quicker recovery. A minimally invasive diskectomy or fusion is not appropriate for every patient.
  • Spinal cord stimulation. Electrical stimulation of the spinal cord in order to treat pain. Spinal cord stimulation is usually appropriate only if one of the other procedures is not suitable.

We can help

If you are suffering from degenerative spine/disc disease and would like an appointment to evaluate your condition, please call:

Tanvir Choudhri, MD, 212-241-8560

Arthur Jenkins, MD, 212-241-8175

John Caridi, MD, 212-241-9517

Nirit Weiss, MD, 212-241-6820

Hongyan Zou, MD, 212-241-8628


Contact Us

Tel: 1-800-MD-SINAI (800-637-4624)