Degenerative disc disease isn’t usually isolated to one or two vertebral levels. Degenerative disc disease is the gradual deterioration and thinning of the shock-absorbing intervertebral discs, and often, the deterioration can be seen throughout the spine. This condition can occur at any level of the spine — cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back) and lumbar (lower back) — and may cause a range of symptoms and intensity levels. Unless a degenerative disc places pressure upon an adjacent nerve, symptoms remain non-existent or strictly localized.
When nerve tissue is impinged or pinched, a number of symptoms may be felt by the patient. The most widespread and easily recognized symptom is pain, but muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, sciatica and other ailments may also be attributed to degenerative discs. Obviously, as the name suggests, multilevel degenerative disc disease occurs at multiple sites along the spine and is often interrelated. Damage to one level can create a domino effect and place undue stress on other levels, leading to further disease.
Typically, physicians prescribe conservative, non-surgical treatments to manage the symptoms of degenerative disc disease with great success. These treatments can include:
- Improved posture
- Weight management
- Physical therapy or stretching and strengthening exercises
- Heat and ice packs
- Pain medication (either over-the-counter or prescription)
- And More
In some cases, patients may not find relief through conservative treatment, and surgery is prescribed. It is reasonable to choose the least invasive and most effective surgical treatment possible. Please investigate the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute. Laser Spine Institute offers effective procedures with shorter recuperating periods and lower infection risk than traditional open spine surgery of all types. Contact us today for a review of your MRI or CT scan, and to receive more information about our facility.