Causes of and risk factors for degenerative disc disease

While most degenerative disc disease causes can be attributed to the natural aging process, there are certain things an individual can do to limit the risk of developing the condition. Degenerative disc disease is a spinal condition that involves the gradual deterioration of the discs, which are found between vertebrae and act as shock absorbers to allow the vertebrae to bend and pivot without touching each other.

Because this condition is largely caused by the natural aging process of the spine, certain lifestyle changes can make individuals less susceptible to developing a degenerative disc disease. Read the following article to help you understand what contributes to the breakdown of a spinal disc, allowing you to focus on how to avoid these risk factors and increase the health of your spine.

Preventative measures for degenerative disc disease

In order to maintain good spine health and help prevent the development of degenerative disc disease, you should make an effort to avoid the following:

  • Being overweight. Carrying excess body weight forces the spine to work extra hard to support everyday movements like sitting, standing and walking. Managing your weight can remove some of the strain from the discs and reduce the likelihood of developing degenerative disc disease.
  • Using tobacco products and abusing alcohol. These unhealthy habits deprive the body of an optimal level of hydration and can prevent the absorption of essential nutrients. Quitting smoking and drinking in moderation can help to keep the spine and the entire body healthy.
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle. A lack of exercise can cause the muscles and ligaments in the neck and back to become relaxed, which may require the discs to work extra hard to absorb impact and support movement.

While maintaining a healthy lifestyle won’t guarantee that you do not develop degenerative disc disease, it does increase your chance of preventing or postponing any damage to your spine caused by age.

When degenerative disc disease treatment is needed

In the event that you develop degenerative disc disease, which can cause pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness, several noninvasive treatments are available. These treatments include physical therapy, pain medication and other nonsurgical options to reduce your pain and symptoms. If several weeks or months of these conservative treatments prove ineffective, you may want to pursue surgery.

If this is the case for you, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn what makes our minimally invasive spine surgery a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ Our surgeons use a small muscle-sparing incision for a minimally invasive discectomy or stabilization surgery in order to help relieve the pain of degenerative disc disease.

Degenerative disc disease surgery is accomplished by removing some of the disc from the pinched nerve that is causing the symptoms or simply replacing the disc with an artificial one to maintain support for the spine. To find out if you are a candidate for our outpatient procedures, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a no-cost MRI review.*