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Degenerative Disc Disease
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Discs act as shock absorbers for the vertebrae in your spine. They are the reason you can bend, flex, and move your back and neck. Degenerative disc disease is a condition that is characterized by the normal wear-and-tear, or breaking down, of your discs as you age.

If worn down discs are causing your pain, you may have degenerative disc disease.  Try our pain assessment questionnaire to find a treatment:

How Do I Know If I Have Degenerative Disc Disease?

Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease

As your spinal discs age, they start to lose the spongy-like nature that makes them so good at absorbing shock and aiding in movement. They begin to lose fluid and dry out, leading to additional stress on bones. As they breakdown, you may experience degenerative disc disease symptoms at or near the area of deterioration.  

Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

Common symptoms of degenerative disc disease include: 

  • Sharp pain when bending, twisting, or sitting
  • Pain when walking, running, or changing positions
  • Constant pain
  • Motion-based pain
  • Mild to severe discomfort
  • Numbness and weakness
  • Tingling
  • Loss of bowel control

Degenerative disc disease is most common in the neck or lower back, however, symptoms can manifest throughout the body. As the disc degenerates, the vertebrae get closer and closer together, often pinching nearby nerves, signaling pain into the arms and legs. It is important to note that while most individuals over the age of 60 have some level or form of degenerative disc disease, not all cases result in pain. 

If you think you are experiencing the painful symptoms of degenerative disc disease, check your condition below to start your diagnosis.

How is Degenerative Disc Disease Treated?

Because it is so closely associated with aging, degenerative disc disease treatment typically begins with a conservative, non-surgical treatment to manage the pain and strengthen the related muscles. 

Non-Surgical Treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease

Because it is so closely associated with aging, degenerative disc disease treatment typically begins with a conservative, non-surgical treatment to manage the pain and strengthen the related muscles. A non-surgical approach to treating degenerative disc disease can involve a combination of: 

  • A pain medication regimen
  • Physical therapy
  • Modifications to daily activities
  • Stretching programs
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Heat/Cold Therapy

These treatments can soothe the symptoms of degenerative disc disease. Once these treatments have been exhausted, surgery may become your most viable option. 

Surgical Treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease

One of the most common surgeries for degenerative disc disease is artificial disc replacement. This procedure is minimally invasive and can be completed in approximately two hours. Other common surgeries that treat degenerative disc disease are: 

  • Endoscopic Discectomy
  • Percutaneous Discectomy
  • Axial Fusion
  • Cervical Disc Replacement
  • Microdiscectomy
  • Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)

If left untreated, degenerative disc disease can lead to a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, and even osteoarthritis. If you suffer from degenerative disc disease symptoms and are ready to take the next step, try our interactive treatment finder below to get right treatment for you.




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