Treating Degenerative Disc Disease
Our spinal discs are soft gel-like materials that cushion each interlocking bone that comprise the spine. But with enough pressure, these spongy things will get compressed.
As these gel-like cushions get squeezed and compacted, they are no longer able to function as shock absorbers for the vertebrae. The spine, in turn, becomes inflexible, unable to bend or twist or stretch.
This is what happens in degenerative disc disease.
The condition is not really a disease; rather, it is what occurs as we age. Growing older carries with it normal changes in the spinal discs. Unfortunately, these changes can be painful.
Degenerative disc disease usually affects the lower back area (lumbar region) and the neck (cervical region), resulting in pain. The following conditions are closely associated with the disease:
- Osteoarthritis, which is characterized by the breakdown of the soft cartilages that cushion the joints
- Herniated disc, or the bulging of the spinal disc
- Spinal stenosis, which involves the narrowing of the spinal canal
Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease
Age is one of the leading factors that cause degenerative disc disease, which results in the following:
- Loss of fluid in the spinal discs, causing the latter to become thinner and less flexible, or
- Formation of cracks or tiny tears in the disc’s outer layer, causing the disc to bulge or rupture.
People who smoke or do heavy lifting work are prone to degenerative disc disease. Obesity or becoming overweight is also a factor for developing the disorder.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
Back or neck pain is the most common indicator of degenerative disc disease. However, the severity of the pain may vary from one person to another. The pain may intensify further when one bends, twists, or stretches the spine. Some patients diagnosed with degenerative disc disease also report numbness or tingling of the arms or legs.
If not treated, degenerative disc disease can get worse over time. Contact Glaser Pain Relief Center at 818-501-PAIN (7246) for complete, gentle care that’s personalized to your needs. For your convenience, you can use our Patient Portal to arrange your one-on-one time with our board-certified pain management specialist Dr. Jeffrey B. Glaser.