Everything you do during the day, once you stand upright, tests the spine's ability to support your body weight. Over time, these repeated daily stresses and minor injuries could add up and begin to affect the discs in your spine. As they accumulate, the disc eventually begins to suffer from the wear and tear. It begins to degenerate and may cause discogenic low back pain. Discogenic pain is a term back specialists use when referring to pain caused by a damaged intervertebral disc. A degenerating disc may cause pain as the disc begins to degenerate and there is some evidence that the disc itself becomes painful. Movements that place stress on the disc may result in low back pain that may extend into the buttocks area and even as far as the upper thigh. Many doctors choose to approach the diseased discs from the back. A portion of the vertebrae is removed to allow the doctor to access the intervertebral disc. Part of the damaged disc is then removed and an interbody device is inserted between the vertebrae. Pedicle screws are inserted into the vertebrae and then attached to internal fixation rods to provide stabilization so that proper fusion can occur after the surgery. Bone graft material is placed at the site to stimulate bone growth. The most conservative method for bone grafting is to use synthetic or demineralized bone matrix. Specialized cells called osteoblasts within the existing bone help fuse the vertebrae and create new bone material. There are risks and complications to this procedure that should be discussed in detail with the physician prior to surgery.
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