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Understanding Degenerative Disc Disease

Jul 3, 2017

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Degenerative disc disease is a pain-causing condition that occurs as discs lose water content and height. Discs degenerate due to aging, wear from activity, incorrect posture and unskillful body movements. The result is a reduction in the discs’ shock absorption capacity and pain-causing inflammation that occurs within the disc space.

If you’re experiencing pain in your back, legs, and/or experiencing numbness in the buttocks or legs that makes walking a challenge, you should consult your doctor. Degenerated discs in the cervical region of the spine can also cause pain in the arm, shoulder and hand, depending on the level of inflammation that occurs.

Degenerative Disc Disease Risk Factors

If you work in a sedentary job or a very physical job, both are indicators that your spine is at risk for being strained. Additionally, contact sports, excess body weight, and unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking can contribute to the risk of degenerative disc disease. Other risk factors include a family history of osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease.

If you have not yet experienced any back pain or degenerative conditions, consult your doctor on best practices for prevention. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, avoiding high-impact or sedentary activities and maintaining a healthy weight are all ways to give your back the healthy supports it needs to be fully functional.

Treating Degenerative Disc Disease

Before considering surgical options, you should consult your doctor and explore conservative, non-surgical measures first. Lifestyle modifications, the use of hot and cold therapy and back-strengthening stretches and exercises may bring relief to mild conditions. Pain management and steroid treatment may also be considered. Regenerative medicine (stem cell and plasma treatments) may also be a consideration for younger patients experiencing pain related to degenerative disc disease. As conditions become more advanced, surgical treatments may be more appropriate solutions. Only a qualified specialist can advise you on the best course of treatment. Popular surgical treatments for degenerative disc disease include discectomy, spinal fusion and artificial disc replacement.

How We Can Help

At Back Pain Centers of America (BPC), we can help you find a board-certified spine specialist to provide the expert care you deserve, including minimally invasive surgical treatments that can be performed on an outpatient basis so that you can spend less time at the hospital and start your journey on the road to recovery quickly. Contact us today at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”]! One call could be the difference between lingering in pain and finding the relief you need.

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Did you know?

over 87 million people suffer
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