Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is an age-related condition that develops when one or more of the discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column deteriorates or breaks down, leading to pain. Spinal discs are like shock absorbers between the vertebrae, or bones, of your spine. They help your back stay flexible, so you can bend and twist. In time, they can wear out, due to this they longer offer as much support as before. Nearly everyone’s discs deteriorate over time, but not everyone develops DDD. If worn-out spinal disks are the reason you’re hurting, it may be a sign of degenerative disc disease. Continuing on the subject, we present the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for degenerative disc disease. Take a look.
Disc degeneration may not exhibit any symptoms in the initial stages, but as it progresses, the symptoms may include acute pain that can even hinder the individual’s ability to carry out routine activities. The condition starts with damage to the spine, but over time, the symptoms can also affect other parts of the body and can progressively worsen. A sharp or constant pain in the back or neck could be a symptom of Degenerative Disc Disease. The disorder is characterized by pain that:
- Is in your lower back, buttocks, or upper thighs
- Comes and goes. It can last from a few days to months.
- Worsens when you sit, and gets better when you move and walk
- Worsens when you bend, lift, or twist
- Gets better when you change positions or lie down
Your spinal discs are made up of a soft inner core and a tough outer wall. As people age, repeated daily stresses on the spine and occasional injuries, including minor, unnoticed ones, can damage the discs in the back. Some of the main causes are:
1. Loss of Fluid
With age, the fluid content decreases, making the disc thinner. The distance between vertebrae becomes smaller, and it becomes less effective as a cushion, or shock-absorber.
2. Disc Damage
If the wall breaks down, the disc’s softcore may push through the cracks. The disk may bulge, or slip out of place, which is called a slipped or herniated disc. It can affect nearby nerves.
Read Related: Understanding Degenerative Disc Disease and Its Symptoms
Treatment may include occupational therapy, physical therapy, or both, special exercises, medications, losing weight, injections or surgery. Surgical treatment options may include disc replacement or spinal fusion surgery.
Even though the spine is essential for us to carry out most tasks, we seldom understand its importance until a problem arises. If you or someone you know has been experiencing the symptoms of degenerative disc disease and you’re looking for a specialist, contact Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center, to connect with a participating physician who is a trusted spine specialist near you. Simply call +1 888-608-4762 or fill out our contact form and we will take it from there.
NOTE: Physicians who are members of the referral program practice independently and are not employees or agents of Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic.