Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease refers to the wearing away of the spinal rubbery cushions located between the vertebrae that act as shock absorbers and support movement, bending, and twisting. Some spinal disc degeneration over time is a normal part of aging, but extensive disc degeneration could indicate illness.
Degenerative disc disease could lead to the following conditions:
- Adult scoliosis. Condition that refers to a curvature of the spine.
- Herniated disc. May include a bulged, slipped, or ruptured disc.
- Spinal stenosis. Condition that refers to a narrowing of the spaces around the spine.
- Spondylolisthesis. Caused by vertebrae moving in and out of place.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease may cause pain in the neck and back. Individuals may experience pain that:
Worsens with sitting, bending, or lifting
Leads to numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
Radiates down the buttocks and into the lower back
Is intermittent lasting for weeks or months at a time
Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease
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Degenerative disc disease may cause pain if the spinal discs:
Dry out. This occurs if the core of the disc loses moisture. As a result, the discs thin and struggle to provide adequate shock absorption.
Tear or crack. This can be caused by minor injuries which lead to tears near nerves, or cracks. As a result, patients may suffer a herniated disc, leading to spinal compression.
Risk Factors for Degenerative Disc Disease
Older adults are at increased risk of degenerative disc disease. Risk factors for the disease include:
Acute injuries, such as falling
Working a physically demanding job
The right treatment for patients diagnosed with degenerative disc disease will depend on the severity of their symptoms and their unique condition. At Central Nevada Regional Care, patients experience pain relief from treatment with pain management therapy, joint and soft tissue injections, and occupational medicine.
Pain management therapy offered at Central Nevada Regional Care may encompass a range of treatments, such as hot and cold therapy, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, acupuncture, cognitive behavior therapy, yoga, tai chi, deep breathing, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, massage, opioids, antidepressants, and beta-blockers.
Joint and soft tissue injections may also help alleviate pain from degenerative disc disease. Injections offered at Central Nevada Regional Care include piriformis injections, epidural injections, sacroiliac joint injections, and trigger point injections.
Some cases of degenerative disc disease interfere with daily life and impair a patient’s ability to perform job duties. In these cases, occupational medicine could help the patient make important adjustments in their workplace as they pursue other treatment.
Staff at Central Nevada Regional Care are also available to help employers adapt the workplace to the limitations of employees diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. Occupational medicine can help both employers and injured employees implement a plan to move forward.
Some patients may need advanced treatment for degenerative disc disease. Advanced treatment may include chiropractic adjustment, physical therapy, and even surgery. Patients are encouraged to speak to their physician at Central Nevada Regional Care to learn more about obtaining advanced treatment for degenerative disc disease.
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