Degenerative Disc Disease
Within the spinal column are rubber-like discs between each vertebra that allow for the usual amount of flexing and bending needed for a person’s back. These discs also function as a sort of shock absorber for the spine itself. Unfortunately, these discs can deteriorate and wear down as time goes on, failing to offer the same amount of protection and flexibility as they did in the past. This can lead to what’s known as degenerative disc disease.
Despite its name, degenerative disc disease is actually a condition that occurs naturally from aging and can lead to varying levels of pain.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
Disc degeneration may cause pain so intense that the individual is unable to continue with their normal daily activities. While this condition starts with damage in the spine, symptoms may eventually affect other parts of the body and worsen with age.
Primary symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease can include:
- Mild to severely debilitating discomfort that could eventually lead to osteoarthritis
- Pain and stiffness in the back
- Pain and weakness in the back that begins to radiate in other areas, including the buttocks and upper thighs
- Tingling and/or numbness in the legs or feet
- Muscle spasms in the lower back or neck
- Random flare-ups of intense pain
- Pain that worsens when sitting, bending, lifting, or twisting
Degenerative Disc Disease Risk Factors
Although age is the primary risk factor of this condition, other factors and circumstances can hasten the degeneration process, including:
- Strenuous physical work
- Tobacco use
- Acute or sudden injuries, such as a fall
Degenerative Disc Disease Treatments
Effective treatment for degenerative disc disease depends on a number of factors, including the amount of disc degeneration and where it’s occurred, along with physical condition and age.
If you’re looking for a diagnosis or treatment for degenerative disc disease, the staff at the Oklahoma Center for Spine and Pain Solutions would love to visit with you about your next steps. Our team is fully equipped to properly diagnose and provide effective treatment options for this common condition, and we are often able to see new patients the same week they contact us.