Degenerative disc disease is the gradual breakdown of the intervertebral discs of the spine due to the loss of disc water, height, and elasticity. In the majority of patients, the disease is a component of the natural aging process and remains asymptomatic.
However, degenerative disc disease can lead to conditions like herniated discs, bulging discs, spondylolisthesis, bone spurs, and spinal stenosis, among others. If these anatomical abnormalities cause bone or soft tissue to compress nearby spinal nerves, painful radiating symptoms can occur.
Possible symptoms of neural compression caused by degenerative disc disease include:
- Pain that remains localized at the site of neural compression; the pain may resemble cramping or throbbing.
- Pain that travels from the site of compression through the extremities; this pain may feel burning or electric in nature.
- A compressed nerve can cause a tingling, or pins-and-needles sensation, which radiates or stays stationary.
- Prolonged compression that goes untreated can produce numbness or weakness in the muscles. In severe cases, patients could be at risk of muscle atrophy or even paralysis.
Minimally Invasive Alternatives
If your primary care physician confirms a diagnosis of degenerative disc disease, he or she should initially prescribe a regimen of conservative treatment. This could include the use of analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, hot and cold compresses, intermittent rest, or behavior modification. Most patients successfully manage their symptoms non-surgically. However, if weeks or months of conservative treatments fail to produce lasting pain relief, contact Laser Spine Institute. We offer a variety of effective minimally invasive, outpatient surgical procedures entailing less risks and a much shorter convalescent period than traditional open spine surgery. Request a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan and find out if you are a candidate for minimally invasive spinal surgery.