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What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Feb 12, 2020

what is degenerative disc diseaseDegenerative Disc Disease occurs when a person’s discs that keep the vertebrae from rubbing together begin to dry out or shrink or degenerate. When these discs are no longer able to perform, chronic back pain begins and can even become debilitating for many.

Unlike normal wear and tear on the spinal column, with this disease, the degeneration of the discs leads to a number of serious symptoms and requires attention and monitoring by medical professionals. At AICA Orthopedics, our orthopedic doctors in Atlanta have the knowledge and expertise to treat degenerative disc disease.

Keep reading to learn more about this disease.

Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

The most common symptom of degenerative disc disease is lower back pain. While lower back pain can signal a number of health concerns, this type of back pain often correlates with sharp pains in other areas of the body as well.

Pain symptoms may be stronger or more pronounced when sitting because more weight and strain is placed on the spine as compared to when standing or walking. Bending and picking up heavy items may also cause strain on the spinal column, which in turn can cause pain symptoms to flare up. In some cases, tingling and numbness can also occur.

Symptoms can vary from person to person, and some pain symptoms may come gradually with age and general wear and tear on the body.

Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease

The risk for this ailment increases with age, as the natural wear and tear on these discs, as well as other factors, contribute to the breakdown. Because spinal discs are comprised primarily of water, they slowly begin to thin or dry out as a person ages, which can lead to painful symptoms as they lose their ability to absorb shock.

These discs also provide cushioning in between vertebrae, so when they begin to break down, the rubbing of these bones against one another can cause extreme pain. A sudden injury to the back can also cause a spinal disc to crack or tear, which may lead to inflammation or rupture.

Treatment of Degenerative Disc Disease

If a direct injury has led to torn or ruptured discs, your doctor would first want to treat the injured areas for swift diagnosis and treatment options. There are both non-surgical and surgical options to treating degenerative disc disease, depending on individual cases and the severity of the symptoms.

When pain symptoms are minimal and manageable, your doctor may recommend modifications to your daily activities to help avoid undue stress on the spine. Your medical team may also recommend pain medication and refer to a physical therapist who can provide massage techniques and even an exercise regimen to address symptoms.
A chiropractor can assess spinal alignment and other contributing factors to help provide relief as well. When non-surgical options are not enough to manage the pain, your doctor may recommend surgical options

The AICA Orthopedics Approach

Our medical team at AICA Orthopedics has a Spine Clinic to address degenerative disc disease. We consult with our patients to address symptoms, provide a diagnosis, and develop a treatment plan to help alleviate pain long-term.

Our team of specialists will want to speak with you in-depth about your current symptoms and level of pain you are experiencing to get a baseline understanding of your experience. They will likely couple this with state-of-the-art imaging technologies such as CT scans, X Rays, and more, to help provide a comprehensive view of the area.

At AICA, all of this is housed in our office as we employ a range of medical team members to help serve our clients with a one-stop-shop approach. Our spine specialists want to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses your concerns and provides relief of degenerative disc disease so you can continue to live your life to the fullest.

Contact AICA Orthopedics to schedule an appointment with one of our medical professionals today and receive quality, experienced medical care from our team of orthopedic doctors, pain management specialists, neurologists, chiropractors, and physical therapists, who are all well versed in treating back pain.

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