Achieve freedom of movement despite back problems

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Flexible spine stabilization: more quality of life in old age

"Everyone has to carry their cross" - in the truest sense, because with increasing age back pain often limits the freedom of movement. Any movement, stretching for a glass in the cupboard or bending down to pick something up from the floor is only possible with great pain. Age-related signs of wear are a common cause, which people usually mistakenly attribute to the intervertebral disc. In many cases, however, specialists blame spinal cord stenosis, the so-called spinal canal stenosis, and treat it with heat, physiotherapy, medication, or special conservative pain therapies. If these measures show no improvement, often only an operative relief of the spinal canal relieves back pain. Patients can now achieve permanent pain relief with a new surgical method, the so-called flexible spine stabilization. After a basic surgery, an implant stabilizes the spine section again without restricting mobility.

For the 50+ generation in particular, this means a real gain in quality of life: the children are out of the worst and travel and active sports and leisure activities bring variety to everyday life. All the more annoying when unbearable back pain, leg pain or gait disorders prevent people from enjoying this new lifestyle. If constricted nerve roots cause the pain in the back or legs, relieving the pressure on the patient will put an end to the daily torture. Surgeons remove potential pain triggers such as parts of the vertebral joints and vertebral arch, but this affects the stability of the spine. To restore this, a stiffening operation is still the method of choice. "For the treated patient, however, this entails restrictions on movement in the case of elongated stiffeners," explains Dr. Thomas Bierstedt, spinal surgeon and specialist in neurosurgery from the Orthopedic-Neurosurgical Center in Datteln and Recklinghausen. "In addition, the increased stress on neighboring vertebrae often leads to renewed pain."

For several years now, specialists have increasingly been focusing on motion-preserving surgical procedures. A new implant now ensures that the patient remains flexible and permanently free of pain in all directions after the surgical pressure relief: the surgeon is still able to bend, stretch, tilt to the side and turn. The flexible spine stabilization, also known as the TOPSTM system, helps to reduce back pain and maintain the mobility of the spine segment. Thus, the new process offers best-agers an opportunity to enjoy their lives without restrictions and to continue doing what they feel like doing. "Treated patients can stretch out to the shelf again without pain and bend down to lace up their shoes without any problems," concludes Dr. Bierstedt. "A real gain in quality of life, especially for people for whom activity is particularly important in life". (pm)

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