Is chronic back pain making your life difficult? You are not alone. A majority of Americans experience back pain at some point in their lifetime. The back pain increases as a person ages, and one of its primary reasons is degenerative disc disease.
What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?
While the term, degenerative disc disease, may seem frightening at first, it will put you at ease to know that it is not exactly a disease. Instead, the problem is what it sounds like — degeneration or breaking down of the discs in the spine. The condition is quite common in adults over 40.
Degenerative disc disease happens because of the normal changes in your spinal discs. These soft, compressible discs lie between your vertebrae and act as shock absorbers, providing fluidity of movement in the spine. As you get older, these discs begin to experience wear and tear and eventually break down. Although degenerative disc disease can occur at any part of your spine, it usually affects the lumbar and cervical region of your body.
Apart from back pain, degenerative disc disease can also cause problems like osteoarthritis, a herniated disc, and spinal stenosis.
How Does the Spine Normally Work?
Our vertebrae are made up of 33 individual bones, all of which are connected through elastic ligaments and spinal discs. These spinal discs act as cushions and help minimize any outer impact falling on the backbone.
When our body moves, the messages travel from the brain to the spinal cord with the help of spinal nerves. These nerves are also responsible for carrying messages back to the brain from the spinal cord. This back and forth of messages is what helps us feel sensations and flexibly move around.
What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease?
Your spinal discs are small fluid-filled discs with a soft inner core and a tough outer wall. Any changes in these discs can cause degenerative disc disease.
Common Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease
Dry Out — The spinal discs in your body are made up of water. With age, these discs start to lose water and get thinner. As they get flatter, it becomes hard to absorb shock as effectively as before. This is what causes problems in your spine.
Crack — Your spinal discs suffer stress from everyday movements, causing them to wear and tear over time. Even minor injuries can result in tiny tears on the outer layer of the discs. If due to any reason, the outer wall breaks, it causes the disc’s softcore to push through the cracks. This may lead to the disc slipping out of place and becoming herniated.
Common Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
● Extreme pain that radiates down your lower back, backside and upper thighs
● Pain that gets triggered by activity like bending, lifting or twisting
● Pain that feels worse when you sit and gets better when you change positions or lie down
● Weakness in the knees, hands and fingers
● Muscle spasms or foot drop
● Severe pain that suddenly flares up and then remains as constant discomfort.
What Is the Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease?
Pain Control — Controlling the pain through heat and ice therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, electrical stimulation, and back braces.
Physical Therapy — Stretch and strengthen the right muscles with the help of a qualified medical professional to heal the back and reduce sudden flare-ups.
Lifestyle Changes — This includes changes like improving posture, quitting smoking, changing the mattress, as well as losing weight.
If you are suffering from severe neck pain, consult a medical specialist as soon as possible. At Bay Area Disc Centers, we utilize advanced, non-surgical disc restoration therapy to treat patients with degenerative disc disease. Our specialized eight-week treatment plan will help you get relief from neck and lower back pain efficiently.
Call us today to schedule your first appointment for our disc restoration therapy! Our contact number is 408-866-0300 for Campbell, CA, office, and 650-375-2545 for San Mateo, CA, office.