Degenerative dystopathy: what it is, causes and treatment

    Degenerative discopathy is an alteration commonly found in imaging exams, such as X-ray, magnetic resonance or computed tomography, which means that the intervertebral disc present between each vertebra in the spine is degenerating, that is, losing its original shape, which increases the risk of having a herniated disc, for example.

    Thus, having a degenerative discopathy does not mean that the person has a herniated disc, but that it has an increased risk.

    Some characteristics of degenerative discopathy are the presence of:

    • Fibrosis, which causes the disc to become more hardened;
    • Reduction of intervertebral space, which makes the disc more flattened;
    • Decreasing the thickness of the disc, which becomes thinner than the others;
    • Disc bulging, which makes the disc apparently curved;
    • Osteophytes, which is the growth of small bone structures in the spine's vertebrae.

    These changes are more frequent in the lumbar region, between the L4-L5 and L3-L4 vertebrae but can affect any region of the spine. When no treatment is performed to improve the quality of the intervertebral disc, the most common consequence is the development of a herniated disc. Dical hernias are more common between the C6-C7, L4-L5 and L5-S1 vertebrae.

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