Degenerative Disc Disease

As an age-related condition, degenerative disc disease develops if one or more discs between the bones of the spinal cord break down or deteriorate. Acting as shock absorbers, the discs in the spine allow for flexibility and movement. With age, these discs start to compress and decrease mobility, causing significant pain and inflammation in the back and/or neck.

DEGENERATIVE DISC SYMPTOMS

Degenerative disc disease may not always develop with symptoms. But, in some cases, the condition can lead to:

  • Discomfort in the lower back, buttocks, and thighs
  • Discomfort in the neck or shoulders
  • Tingling and/or numbness
  • Pain that worsens with sitting, bending, lifting, or twisting
  • Weakness in the muscles of the legs and feet

CAUSES OF DISC DISEASE

As a result of the natural breakdown of the discs that lie between the spinal vertebrae, degenerative disc disease usually occurs in adults over the age of 60. With age, bodily strength, the integrity of muscle tissue, and bone health diminish, exacerbating this condition. However, in some cases, everyday activities that include bending and/or twisting of the spine or injury to the back can be a cause of degenerative disc disease.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

When a disc is compromised, there is diminished blood flow to the region and, often, the disc cannot be restored. However, there are still a variety of treatments available to help treat pain and manage the associated symptoms. To determine the severity of the condition, spine or joint diagnostic imaging tests, such as x-rays, an MRI, or a CT scan, may be performed. For patients with less severe cases, a minimally invasive approach to treatment will be recommended. Possible interventions may include therapy, medications or weight loss. In more severe cases of degenerative disc disease, surgery may be the best option in order to improve the quality of life. Following a comprehensive exam and assessment, we will develop a treatment plan specific to your needs, so that you can return to the activities that you enjoy.

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