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Degenerative Disc Disease

disc disease

Even though this condition is often caused by aging, it doesn’t always affect everyone. Generally, the disease is characterized by an alteration of the disc structure alone or a loss of fluid in inter-vertebral discs. The outer part of the discs can develop small tears or cracks, which provide an exit for the material that normally lies inside of the discs.

Those who are overweight or do a lot of strenuous activity, as well as smokers, are more susceptible to developing this condition at a quicker pace. Non-surgical treatments for the disease aim at strengthening the stomach and back muscles. Pilates, yoga and swimming are also great forms of strengthening exercises. They train the muscles to offer a stronger level of support for the spine, which helps take pressure off the discs. Patients might have to wear a brace or corset. Steroids might help with reducing inflammation around the nerves, which eases the pain.


Symptoms: Pain, Numbness, Fatigue, Spasms, Compromised Movements
Causes: Wear and Tear, Injury
Treatments: Decompression, stabilization/fusion, injection
Recovery Rate: High


Common symptoms of Degenerative Disease include:

° Lumbar degenerative disc disease
Problems in the lower back (lumbar) are common because your lumbar spine carries the bulk of your weight and endures a lot of everyday stress and strain. Damage in a lumbar disc can also lead to pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling anywhere from your lower back to your feet. In severe cases, a condition called “foot drop” can occur. This is characterized by the inability to bend one’s foot up. If the DDD causes impingement on the sciatic nerve, sciatica may result.

° Cervical degenerative disc disease
Cervical DDD (in your neck) is the second most common form. Degeneration symptoms in your cervical spine typically center on chronic pain that flares up significantly from time to time. Symptoms may be present in the neck, head, arms, and hands.

° Thoracic degenerative disc disease
Symptoms associated with this less-common type of degeneration usually appear in the mid or upper back, at times radiating to the chest or abdomen.




Additional common Degenerative Disease causes

° Age related wear and tear
° Back or neck strain due to repetitive physical activity, poor posture, imbalances in the musculature, or heavy lifting
° Direct physical injuries such as a car accident or fall
° Genetics, whether or not the symptoms appeared in your parents



Conservative Options
options include nerve root blocks and steroid injections


may be used when the stability of the spine or vertebrae are compromised or threatened. In some of these cases, more than one harmful condition may exist. While these procedures are minimally invasive and enjoy a high success rate, some patients may be required to stay overnight for observation.