Degenerative Disc Disease Overview
As we get older the discs in our spine naturally get weaker and degenerate. Although there are certainly ways to assist in slowing down the degeneration process, it is inevitable. The more a persons discs degenerate, the easier it is for them to develop other conditions which effect the spine such as herniations, bone spurs and spinal stenosis. As much as degeneration is inevitable and cannot be stopped, the process can be worsen more quickly if the patient is not aware or actions that lead to a faster detoriation. Poor posture, smoking, lack of exercise, obesity and a poor diet can all lead to accelerating the degenerative process.
Making sure that you take care of any issues that arise in your back or neck as soon as they occur is also very important. If problems in the spine are left untreated they can cause instability in the spine and lead to an increased rate of degeneration. Simple issues like strains or sprains can quickly manifest into much more serious conditions resulting in an increased rate of degeneration. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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Degenerative Disc Disease may also be known as Disc degeneration, Degenerative disk disease, Degenerative back disease, Degenerative neck disease.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
Symptoms of disc degeneration can vary from person to person. In most cases the prodominent symptom is persistent neck or back pain. This pain however can be inconsistent so it should not be used as the only means to diagnose.
Since degenerative disc disease is a gateway to many other spinal conditions, observing multiple other symptoms of various conditions can be a clear indicator as well. Some of these symptoms can include:
- Pain that varies based on the individual from Mild to Severe Pain
- Tingling or numbness in the arm.
- Tingling, weakness that radiates from the neck into the shoulder and arms.
- Tingling, weakness that radiates from the lower back into the buttocks and legs.
- Pain feels worse with sitting.
- Pain feels worse when bending over or stooping.
- Relief is felt when moving or position changes.
- Loss of bowel or bladder control.
Degenerative Disc Disease Causes
The main cause of degenerative disc disease is aging. As we age the discs in our spine naturally lose the spinal fluid contained within them. As this happens the discs dry out making it easier for spine conditions such as disc herniations to occur. Repetetive trauma throughout ones life to their discs will also contribute to the degenerative process.
- The percentage is higher for those older than 40 years of age.
- Repetetive trauma throughout ones life.
Degenerative Disc Disease Treatments
Treatment for degenerative disc disease is somewhat dependant on the conditions that occur do to it. When the onset of the disease is noticed the first treatment is almost always a conservative approach. Typically if a conservative approach fails a surgical approach is considered depending on the condition(s) of the patient.