Degenerative disc disease is a condition described by low back and neck pain often combined with weakness and numbness. Many patients notice that these discomforts arise especially when they are forced to sit or stand in one place for an extended period of time. While it can occur in any person, it especially affects adults. This condition is not actually an ongoing disease and will not necessarily be as dire as the name suggests. This condition is more commonplace than it might seem as all people will face some kind of disc degeneration or damage as they age, but not everyone will suffer the symptoms. Each case will vary in both severity and condition.
Pain can stem from two sources:
Inflammation of the disc space is caused by proteins leaking out of the disc into surround areas causing localized pain. Often, though, this pain can spread and inhabit nearby locations, such as the hips and sciatica if the degenerated disc is in the lower back.
- Abnormal micromotion instability
Abnormal micromotion instability is a result of the annulus, or the outer rings of the intervertebral disc, degenerating and being worn down, making it difficult for it to resist motion in the spine. This can result in painful muscle spasms that occur as the body tries to stabilize the spine.
SYMPTOMS OF DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE
- Activity-related pain that can flare up to a higher level pain, then reduce itself to a lower level pain or dissipate completely. Often these activities include lifting, bending, twisting, and other movements that affect the spine directly.
- Chronic pain issues that can vary in severity between patients, ranging from nearly non-existent to disabling levels of pain
- Flares of extreme pain in the neck or lower back for short-term periods of time, from a few days to a few months, before reducing back to the baseline level of pain
DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE TREATMENT
There are several degenerative disc disease treatment options available to patients that can vary depending on the severity of the condition. At AXIS, we offer advanced treatments with minimally invasive options for degenerative disc disease surgery and therapy that will give you peace of mind as you move forward into an improved state of life.
On-going low-impact exercise and physical therapy is an ideal part of treatment for most patients. Before starting this part of treatment, it is necessary to consult your doctor. Ongoing activity will help the majority of patients reduce pain and normally includes strengthening, stretching, walking and low-impact aerobic exercise.
Pain medication is also commonplace for patients to help them manage symptoms. NSAIDs, acetaminophen, muscle relaxants, oral steroids, narcotics and other pain reducers are used by many patients. The type and dosage of the treatment plan’s suggested medication will be decided by your doctor in cooperation with you and your needs.
Manual manipulation of the spine, once cleared for safety and appropriateness by your doctor, can provide relief from pain. A chiropractic professional can help to take pressure off sensitive nerve tissue in the back and allow for a greater range of motion and decreased symptoms.
Surgery is often not needed for this condition, but if the problems persist or if symptoms are occurring in great severity, surgery may be recommended. Options for minimally invasive degenerative disc disease surgery allow for an easier recovery and the potential for a more sustainable management of chronic degenerative disc disease-associated symptoms. With our state-of-the-art techniques for spine surgery, we can provide relief from daily pain caused by this intrusive condition.
What if surgery is needed?
If pain medication and physical therapy have not improved the symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease, then surgery can become a life-changing option. Make sure to consult with a spine specialist to get a holistic perspective of the matter; the type of surgery you need will determine the level of invasiveness. Obtain as much information to find out the best possible solution for you.
Axis provides exceptional back and spine solutions that leave patients feeling new again. Our satisfaction rate stands at 98%, meaning our doctors perform the highest quality surgical practices and use the latest technology. Typical open back surgery is more invasive to nearby tissue, so our minimally invasive techniques provide smaller scars and faster recovery time.
Do you or someone you know suffer from degenerative disc disease? Contact Axis Brain and Back immediately to schedule a consultation, nothing makes us happier than knowing we have improved our patient’s lifestyle. Complete an online contact form or give us a call at (817) 502-7411 to begin your road to recovery.