Degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease, or spondylosis, by definition, is not a disease, but rather a condition involving the gradual degeneration of the spine’s spinal discs. It can manifest anywhere along the spine, but it is most common in the lower back (lumbar) area. Visit either Laser Spine Institute’s lumbar degenerative disc disease or spondylosis page for a more detailed explanation of why the lower back is the most commonly affected region.

The location of spinal discs allows for complex motions, and their actions act as shock absorbers for the many pressures placed upon the neck and back every day. With aging, the discs and their protective elasticity degrade. Disc dehydration makes them thinner and weaker and they can no longer perform their full functions. Osteoarthritis can develop with accompanying stiffness and pain in the lower back.

Degeneration of the discs is normal. It may, however, cause serious disability when the steady progress of degenerative disc disorder results in the distortion of disc shape. Deformed discs may impinge upon the spinal cord or its nerve roots, leading to varying levels of pain. Usually, pain starts in one of two ways:

  • Sudden, unexpected pain
  • Gradual pain that progressively worsens

If you develop neck or back pain, consult your physician. He or she can properly diagnose your condition and recommend treatment. Treatment should begin conservatively and may include medication, physical therapy, exercise and more. To learn what exercises might be beneficial, review our degenerative disc disease exercises page. Remember to consult with your physician before trying any new exercise regimen.

There may be a situation when you need more than standard, conservative treatments to reclaim your life from neck and back pain. There is another option for pain relief — minimally invasive spine surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute. With a quicker recuperation time^ than other treatments, like traditional open back surgery, our outpatient procedures allow you to find relief from neck and back pain, and to spend more time doing the things you love, like shopping, working, dancing and gardening. For a review of your MRI report or CT scan, and to learn more information about our innovative procedures, contact us today.