Positive Outcome for Treatment of Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disk Disease - Woman with back pain

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What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

According to WebMD, degenerative disc disease is not a disease at all. Instead, it is the result of a normal process associated with aging. The spinal column is a complex system of bones, muscles, nerves, connective tissue, and soft discs. The job of the discs is to keep the vertebrae from touching. The disc also help to maintain a certain tension within the spinal column, which helps to protect your spinal cord from damage. In essence, it has similarities to Spinal Stenosis.

This is a syndrome that can occur wherever two vertebrae are located, but it most often happens in the higher movement zones along the spine. These would be the cervical region, lumbar region, and to some degree the thoracic region of the spine. As we age the discs begin to lose the elasticity, and they may become brittle and bulge. This is called a herniated disc, which may be from a natural process or from an injury.

What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease?

The aging process is the primary cause of this situation. The discs are filled with a gel like substance that over the course of our lifetime become drier, and less flexible. They can split and lose their gel, or the soft, rubber outer portion of the disc can become rigid. Sudden trauma or an acute injury may also cause the onset of the degeneration of the discs. A car accident, a fall, lifting heavy objects, twisting, turning, and other strenuous activity can all be the cause of damage to the discs. In short, this can be a natural process, or it can result from an accident. It can even be fairly mild in our youth and progress to become more serious as we age. Normal life activities, such as picking your child can exacerbate this condition.

How to Treat Degenerative Disc Disease

A recent article in Spine-Health indicated treatment option that were conservative. Those suggestions include pain management through medication followed by chiropractic manipulation and even epidural injections. The goal being to relieve pain levels so that exercise programs can strengthen the muscles in your back to support your spine. For patients who have already tried conservative methods and are still experiencing pain surgical means can be used to restore damaged discs. Those options include Artificial Disc Replacement, Decompression, Discectomy, and Fusion Procedures. The good news about back surgery is that medical advances have made new treatments safer and with better results. There is no reason to live in pain or with pain any longer due to degenerative disc disease. Qualified and experienced doctors can help you return to an active life style.

Howard B. Cotler, MD, FACS, FAAOS

Gulf Coast Spine Care

1200 Binz St.

Houston, TX 77004‎

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