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Degenerative Disc Disease

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What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative Disc Disease is a fairly common, yet serious, spine condition. Through the continuous strain of fragile spine muscles in one’s life, degenerative spine disorders normally occur with age. This condition ultimately means that spinal discs have thinned out throughout time, making them more susceptible to pain. Though often times this condition is overlooked because of its commonality with natural aging, in many cases it can be incredibly severe and even life threatening.

Degenerative Disc Disease Causes:

Degenerative disease has been associated with the progressive wear and tear onto the spine throughout the general lifespan. This condition can worsen from fractures and serious back injury, but more than often is progressive with mistreated abuse to the back. This means things you do on a daily basis that are becoming too harsh on your back can lead to degenerative disc disease. It is also noted that smoking can speed up the process at which your spine might begin to disintegrate. Degenerative disc disease also shows few signs of being related through genetics.

Degenerative Disc Disease Symptoms:

Degenerative disc disease is usually associated with striking lower back pain. This will often lead further down into the hips, thighs and buttocks. Generally, daily activities like bending and lifting can probe more of a strain onto the spine. The good news about degenerative disc disease is that in most cases, light exercises like running and walking can ease the pain. Doing things like switching positions when sitting or lying down for a long period of time will also help ease the pain of degenerative disc disease, and pain is said to come and go as the spine goes from stiff to relaxed repetitively.

Degenerative Disc DiseaseTreatment:

Physical Therapy is a common treatment for individuals with degenerative disc disease. Easing into activities, applying hot and hold compresses, as well as using over the counter medication will often times aid the condition completely. Through a light and progressive physical therapy routine, you might discover that healing your pain is as simple as practicing new sitting and sleeping positions as well as slow walking and massaging the effected area. Mobilization is extremely crucial to treating and understanding degenerative disc disease. Constantly making sure that the spine changes positions can be extremely beneficial to ending reoccurring pain.

Though treatment for degenerative disc disease is as simple as a few lifestyle changes, some cases might need surgical attention. These procedures are only performed when medication and general physical therapy has failed. Some of these procedures include:

Discectomy – this is the removal of part or the entire disc causing pain to the lower back. If the part of the spine that is causing degenerative disc disease has herniated and pressurized the spinal cord, a discectomy is done to remove the problem disc.

Fusion Surgery – by fusing at least two bones into a stronger single unit, the bones and joints are restricted from moving. This will ease pain because the parts of the spine causing the majority of the pain are now being held together and restricted from moving, eradicating inflammation and irritation completely. There are three specific types of fusion surgeries:

  • Anterior - done through the abdomen to work on the front of the spine.
  • Posterior - done through the back, which uses grafts to cover the problem area by placing metal plates and screws into the vertebrae to hold during healing.
  • Combined - this includes both anterior and posterior fusions.

Other minimally invasive procedures include:

Microdisectomy -- using a laser to remove a portion of the nucleus.

Facetectomy -- removing a portion of the facet.

Spinal decompression -- re-hydrating the spinal disc by enlarging the intra vertebral foramen.

These are just few of the most common procedures used by physicians for degenerative disc disease. It’s best to consult West Medical to learn more about how severe your pain might be, and what treatment is best for you.

If you're suffering from degenerative disc disease, West Medical is happy to provide you with the best treatment available to you today. For more information degenerative disc disease, call West Medical at (855) 690-0565 and one of our staff members will be happy to help you.

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