Mar 30, 2023
Your spine consists of hard and soft parts. The hard parts are the bone components of the spine called vertebrae. Between vertebrae, you have rubbery tissue known as spinal discs. Their job is to absorb shock and provide your spine with the necessary flexibility.
When these discs get worn out, you develop a condition known as degenerative disc disease. Before we continue, you need to understand that this isn’t exactly a disease but more of a condition.
Here’s what you need to know about this condition and degenerative disc disease treatment.
Three things are known to cause degenerative disc disease.
There are four stages of degenerative disc disease.
Each subsequent stage is more painful and harder to ignore. The speed at which you’ll progress through these four stages is hard to predict. The progress will be quicker if the patient is older and has previous spine injuries.
If ignored long enough, the spine may develop arthritis and even become deformed leading to degenerative scoliosis.
If ignored for long enough, the spine's bones will begin to fuse, resulting in a complete loss of posture and mobility. In other words, the result will be permanent spinal deformity. In some cases, degenerative disc disease can cause degenerative scoliosis. In other words, this condition will not go away if you ignore it long enough.
The first symptom of degenerative disc disease is back pain that worsens when sitting, bending, twisting, or lifting. To make matters worse, these are the types of movements that you repeat regularly.
If you feel better while running or walking than sitting or standing, this could also be an indicator.
Numbness in extremities or weakness in the leg muscles can indicate damage to the nerve root because the broken disc is pushing on it.
Still, the best way to diagnose degenerative disc disease is to see a spinal doctor and have them examine you.
There are a few things you should avoid with degenerative disc disease. For instance, heavy lifting and twisting are generally seen as unsafe. Therefore, you might want to slow down or avoid them entirely.
When treating degenerative disc conditions, you have several non-surgical options to consider.
If all of this fails, you can always consider the surgery.
Several surgical procedures might help with degenerative disk disease. These are only used if there’s no response to medication. The most common three surgery types are:
The type of surgery will heavily depend on the degenerative changes in the spine. This is why you need a doctor’s opinion as soon as possible.
About 30% of people will show evidence of degenerative disc disease before age 35. By the age of 60, this number will grow to 90%. In other words, it’s not a question you will develop; it’s to what degree and at what point. Fortunately, with the right medical care, many options for approaching degenerative disc disease treatment correctly exist.
If you have any concerns, you should visit one of our spinal specialists for more information about treating your degenerative disc disease.
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