What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease is not as much a disease as it is a name for the changes that can happen to the spine as we age.
Our discs are made of a tough, rubbery exterior and a soft interior. They sit between the vertebrae to act as shock absorbers. As we age, the spinal discs begin to degenerate. This can cause herniated discs, bulging discs, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine) and osteoarthritis.
Degenerative Disc Symptoms
The degeneration of spinal discs may cause no symptoms at all, and symptoms depend on each patient and the severity of their case.
Pain may occur at the site of the affected disc in the back or neck. As the pain is often caused by compressed nerves, this pain can also travel to other areas of the body like the buttocks, arms, and legs. Numbness and tingling in the arms and legs may also be experienced. Pain can range from mild to severe and debilitating.
Degenerative Disc Causes
As mentioned previously, our spines can degenerate as a natural part of aging. Tears in the tougher outer layer of the disc are common as we grow older. and when the discs begin to lose fluid, they become smaller and less flexible. In addition to aging, other factors that can be relevant as well: obesity, smoking, repeated physical work, and injury.
Degenerative Disc Treatment
Some people opt for surgery right away which would more than likely consist of either spinal fusion or disc replacement. It obviously depends on the severity of your case. If this is something you are dealing with , call us and set up an appointment to speak with Dr. Kerwin. He will help you figure out if you would be a good candidate for decompression or not.