Common treatment methods for degenerative disc disease and what may happen if this condition goes untreated.

How to treat degenerative disc disease

As the name suggests, degenerative disc disease is a common spine condition that often develops as a result of the natural aging process. This condition occurs as the vertebrae of the spine are compressed due to weight gain and repetitive motion. The pressure from the vertebrae squeezes the disc in between each set of vertebrae, causing the disc to slowly degenerate. When this happens, the spine loses the stability provided by a full, healthy disc.

Patients diagnosed with degenerative disc disease should consult a physician about beginning a treatment plan as soon as possible. The condition will only worsen over time, due to the degenerative quality of the disease. Many mild forms of degenerative disc disease can be treated with conservative methods of treatment, though some more severe cases may require a surgical treatment to alleviate pain and stabilize the spine. Consult your physician to determine the best treatment plan for your needs.

Spine conditions associated with degenerative disc disease

As with every degenerative spine condition, one condition often results in the development of another. For example, as the disc in between a set of vertebrae deteriorates, the vertebrae have no cushion to protect them from rubbing against each other during movement. When the vertebrae continually impact each other, bone spurs might form and grow out of the spine and into the spinal canal. These bone spurs could impact a nerve root in the spinal canal and cause chronic and debilitating pain.

Other conditions that could develop as a result of degenerative disc disease include:

  • Bulging discs
  • Herniated discs
  • Thinning discs
  • Spinal stenosis

This is why it is imperative that you begin to treat your degenerative spine condition as soon as you are diagnosed. You should be proactive about finding a treatment before your condition leads to the development of another spine condition.

Treatment options for degenerative disc disease

Many patients begin to treat degenerative disc disease with conservative treatments to help relieve symptoms such as numbness, tingling, traveling pain, localized back pain or weakness. Pain medication, mild physical therapy, steroid injections, the application of hot and cold packs and rest are all nonsurgical ways to treat degenerative disc disease.

While conservative treatments are often effective for mild forms of degenerative disc disease, some more severe cases might require surgical treatment.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer two types of minimally invasive surgery to help treat degenerative disc disease: minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery. Both types of surgery are performed on an outpatient basis through a small incision.

During a minimally invasive decompression surgery, the surgeon will remove a portion of the damaged disc to relieve pain and reduce the risk of the condition progressing. During a minimally invasive stabilization surgery, the surgeon will often remove the entire disc and insert a surgical implant into the empty disc space to stabilize the spine.

Our minimally invasive surgery offers a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery and has earned Laser Spine Institute a 98 percent patient satisfaction^ score. For more information about the minimally invasive surgery we offer, please contact our caring team. Our team can provide you with a free MRI review* and help determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures.