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Adjacent Segment Disease

Adjacent segment disease is a progressed form of adjacent segment degeneration, a condition that often occurs after a spinal fusion or other back surgery.

Spinal fusion is surgery that is typically performed when vertebrae become so unstable that movement affects the nerves or causes pain. Using hardware and bone grafts to permanently “lock” two or more vertebrae together, a spinal fusion makes the damaged section of spine immovable. This forced lack of movement puts increased stress at the remaining adjacent levels of the spine, causing degeneration at an accelerated rate.

Adjacent Segment Disease Conditions

The overloading of the adjacent segments of the spine can result in a number of conditions, including:

Symptoms of Adjacent Segment Disease

These conditions can compress nerves in the spine, causing pain and additional conditions like radiculopathy and myelopathy.

Adjacent Segment Disease Risk Factors

Adjacent segment disease is seen more in people who have other risk factors like arthritis or other condition that predispose them to disc degeneration or disease.

Treatment of Adjacent Segment Disease

While conservative treatments won’t be able to stop the progression of the disease, they can help ease the pain during its early stages. Treatments may include one or more of the following:

  • Physical therapy and strengthening exercises
  • Rest and a restriction of physical activity
  • Injections (corticosteroids) to help reduce the pain and swelling
  • Medications and analgesics to reduce pain and swelling

Minimally invasive surgery may be necessary if conservative treatments fail to relieve the pain. If you are experiencing symptoms, call 330.835.5533 to schedule an appointment with a Summa spine specialist.


Options to Request an Appointment

If your situation is an emergency, call 911.