Degenerative Disease of the Spine

Degenerative spinal disorders often arise from wear and tear over time, and are usually associated with aging. However, even younger people can develop degenerative spinal disorders.

Healthy spinal joints are elastic and supple, allowing for fluid movement. To protect the spinal cord and provide shock absorption, rubbery fluid-filled discs are situated between the vertebrae. Over time, normal wear and tear can cause spinal discs to become compressed, offering less shock absorption and leaving less room for nerve roots. Aging discs can become dry and rigid, inhibiting mobility and placing painful pressure on nerves.

Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

Disc degeneration is often accompanied by back pain, and can occur in any segment of the spine, although it is most often reported in the neck and low back.

Symptoms include:

  • Increased pain when sitting
  • Pain when bending, twisting or lifting
  • Decreased pain when walking, or with a change in position
  • Reduced pain when lying down
  • Weakness, numbness or pain in the legs
  • Shoulder pain and headaches

Many people think that surgery can offer a quick and permanent solution to resolving degenerative disc disorders.

Degenerative Spine Treatment at NYDNR

The joint pain specialists at NYDNR take a holistic and multi-modal approach to alleviate pain and improve mobility.


In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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