Your back takes a lot of impacts and is an essential part of your daily life. In between each vertebra are your discs, which are there to help ease any impacts. They provide height, allow bending, flexion, and twisting. Think of them as the spines’ shock absorbers.
As we age, our discs begin to shrink, causing more wear and tear. In some cases, this can be more severe and lead to back pain and stiffness, often caused by other underlying issues. If you are currently living with back pain from degenerative disc disease, here’s what you should know:
Everyone will experience some level of degeneration over time. As you age, your discs will begin to dry out, losing their ability to absorb shock. Daily movement and physical activities such as sports, can lead to tears in the outer core. An injury can lead to instability, swelling, and soreness.
As the condition develops, certain complications can come along, such as:
- Disc Wall Tears: Small tears appearing in the disc wall, causing pain.
- Disc Wall Heal: The disc wall tears heal and create scar tissue that’s weaker than the original disc wall. A repeat injury can lead to the continuation of this process.
Also, your disc center can weaken, the nucleus of your disc collapses, and bone spurs can form. Early treatment is vital to reduce further damage.
Knowing the Symptoms
Your symptoms all depend on where the degenerated disc(s) are located. For some, it can be in the lower back, others the neck. Lower back pain can travel from the lower back to the buttocks and thighs. Neck pain can travel and radiate to your arms and hands. For others, it can worsen when you sit or do specific activities.
Pain may come and go; it may be nagging or severe. All of these depend on the damage that has occurred and the location of the degeneration.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The first step in diagnosing degenerative disc disease is to have a physical exam and a full review of your medical history. You will be asked to describe your pain and when it began to occur. An MRI might be scheduled to see the damage of the discs.
With proper treatment, the source of the pain can often repair itself. Treatment might include anti-inflammatory drugs, chiropractic care, and therapy. For some instances, traction or injections may be prescribed. If all non-invasive measures have been exhausted without any improvement, surgery may be necessary.
Degenerative disc disease, though natural, can often be a significant source of chronic pain. At Pain Specialist of America, we are dedicated to helping you reduce your pain, and get back your quality of life. Call us today at (855) 876-7246 to make an appointment to discuss treatment options. You can also fill out our convenient appointment request form.