If you believe that you may be suffering from degenerative disc disease, visit your primary care physician. He or she will review your medical history, perform a physical exam, and inquire about your symptoms. Additionally he or she may order an MRI or CT scan. An honest and accurate description of your symptoms greatly helps your physician to design an appropriate treatment plan if the diagnosis of degenerative disc disease is confirmed.
Causes and symptoms of DDD
Degenerative disc disease is the gradual deterioration of the intervertebral discs that separate adjacent vertebrae, absorb shock, and protect the spinal cord. These discs weaken as part of the natural aging process. Other factors such as infection, concomitant disease, trauma, malnutrition, and overexertion can also accelerate the degenerative process. Diseased discs become prone to the following conditions:
- Bone spurs
- Spinal stenosis
- Herniated discs
- Bulging discs
- Disc protrusions
Many patients may have one or more of the above conditions without even realizing it because these abnormalities are not painful in and of themselves. However, when bone or soft tissue compresses nearby spinal nerve roots or the spinal cord itself, symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness can present.
Treating degenerative disc disease
If your physician confirms a diagnosis of degenerative disc disease, he or she will work with you to design a regimen of conservative treatment. Conservative treatment may include pain medication, hot and cold compresses, intermittent rest, or behavior modification. The majority of patients respond favorably to manage their symptoms non-surgically. However, if you find that weeks or months of conservative treatments fail to offer you lasting pain relief, surgical treatment may be indicated. Contact Laser Spine Institute. We offer a variety of minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that provide a welcome alternative to the risks and long recuperative period required by traditional open spine surgery. Request a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan and find out if you could be a candidate for one of our state-of-the-art endoscopic procedures.