The most common degenerative disc disease causes
A degenerative disc disease describes any damage to a disc in the spine due to the natural aging process of the spine, injury or trauma.
While the most common degenerative disc disease causes include the natural aging of the spine and gradual wear and tear, there are certain risk factors that can increase your chance of developing this condition. We may not be able to slow down the aging process, but certain preventative measures can ensure a greater health as we age, which may be able to at least postpone the development of some of these conditions.
What is degenerative disc disease?
Over time, the discs that cushion the spine naturally begin to deteriorate as a result of years of wear and tear. This phenomenon is particularly common in the highly flexible and weight-burdened regions of the spine in the lower back (lumbar spine) and neck (cervical spine).
Though the gradual deterioration of discs often goes unnoticed for years, when degenerative disc disease causes the compression of a nerve, nerve root or the spinal cord within the spinal canal, the patient may experience a variety of symptoms, including:
- Localized pain
- Stiffness or difficulty moving
- Pain that radiates along a nerve
- A feeling of pins and needles
- The sensation of heat
Leading causes of degenerative disc disease
In addition to the natural aging process, there are a number of risk factors to keep in mind. Generally speaking, any activity that increases strain or stress on the spinal column can accelerate the degenerative process. Being obese, for example, is a leading cause of degenerative disc disease because the burden of supporting excess body weight strains the discs in the lumbar spine.
Similarly, having poor posture can accelerate disc deterioration because of the improper alignment of the spine. Traumatic injury, a sports-related accident, frequent bending, twisting or lifting, and other similar activities are also common causes of degenerative disc disease.
While lifestyle changes like weight loss and good posture can help reduce your risk of developing a degenerative disc disease, it may not prevent you from the condition altogether. If you do develop a damaged disc in the spine, consult your physician about the available treatment options for pain relief.
Treatment options for degenerative disc disease
While many patients with degenerative disc disease benefit from conservative, nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy and pain medication, some patients may require more direct treatment with spine surgery.
In the event that degenerative disc disease causes you significant pain, and conservative treatments have proven ineffective, visit Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive, outpatient alternatives to traditional open spine surgery. We offer minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures that relieve pressure on the pinched nerve caused by a damaged disc. Due to the careful approach our surgeons take to the spine, our patients experience a shorter recovery time^ and higher patient satisfaction rate compared to patients who choose traditional open back surgery.
Contact us today for a review of your MRI or CT scan to find out if our minimally invasive spine surgery is right for you.