Degenerative disc disease refers to a condition that causes pain as the discs in your spine break down.
Your spinal discs are essentially built-in shock absorbers between your spine’s bones, or vertebrae. They’re responsible for keeping your back flexible, so you can carry out daily activities that involve bending and twisting without pain.
However, as you age, your discs may begin showing signs of wear and tear. In fact, most people’s spinal discs break down over time, but the pain levels vary from person to person. If the pain is directly linked to your degenerative discs, chances are you have degenerative disc disease.
Pain from degenerative disc disease has many different causes, including the following:
If you have degenerative disc disease, you may experience neck and back pain on a regular basis. Other symptoms vary depending on how severe your condition is. Some common symptoms include the following:
In more severe cases, your condition may result in tingling or numbness in your legs, arms, and hands. Your leg muscles may also become weaker, meaning the condition is beginning to affect more nerves near your spine.
If you think you may have degenerative disc disease, you should consult with your doctor. During your appointment, your doctor will go over your symptoms and medical history and ask common questions, such as the following:
Your doctor may also examine your spine for signs of the degenerative condition and may ask you to bend or walk to determine what type of movements cause the pain to flare up. Your doctor may also order an MRI or X-ray to diagnose the problem
With degenerative disc disease, the goal of treatment is to alleviate any pain you’re feeling while preventing more damage from occurring. Based on your symptoms and severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend the following:
Many degenerative disc disease patients have positive outlooks, thanks to the treatment options available. Over time, the right treatment plan can help you manage or eliminate any pain caused by the condition.