Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is a condition in which the rubbery discs between the vertebrae have become degraded. This most frequently occurs in the neck and lower back where motion is greater. As they degenerate, spinal discs can become thinner, bulge, or rupture, or the annulus (exterior material of the disc) can deteriorate.
What causes degenerative disc disease?
Degenerative disc disease is a condition resulting from wear and tear on the joints of the spine. It is a form of osteoarthritis. With aging, as collagen and moisture in the tissues decrease, the spinal discs can begin to dry out and shrink, narrowing the space between the vertebrae. Bone spurs may also form. The spine gradually stiffens and loses flexibility, and bone spurs can pinch the nerve, causing weakness, numbness, or pain.
What are my treatment options for degenerative disc disease?
Treatment will depend on severity of the symptoms and whether nerves are involved.
An x-ray/MRI/CT scan may be needed to detect or rule out collapsing discs or bone spurs. If nerves are not involved and arthritis of the spine is not too severe, treatment may involve weight loss, lifestyle modifications and conservative care with injections or regenerative medicine and medication management with the help of your primary care physician.
If pain is severe and not easily controlled with rest and medications, surgery may be indicated. After a consultation and thorough examination, our spine surgeon at Achieve Brain & Spine can recommend the best treatment option for you.