What are the causes of degenerative disc disease?

The most common cause of degenerative disc disease (DDD) is just as the name implies — degeneration. In this case, degeneration refers to the natural aging process of the spine. The spine is responsible for supporting the body, allowing for movement, bending and giving the body posture. While the spine is made largely of discs, vertebrae and joints, each little piece is important for overall spinal health.

For example, the discs are the cushions that allow the vertebrae to move and hinge, which ultimately allows the spine and the body to move. Each disc is made of a tough outer wall that holds in the gel-like center. As the body bends and twists, the outer layer helps maintain the disc’s proper shape and height to support the spine.

This is also true when weight gain adds unnecessary pressure to the discs and vertebrae. Eventually, the elasticity of the outer disc layer gives way, causing the disc to lose shape and become damaged. For more causes of degenerative disc disease and treatments to ease your symptoms, read the following article.

Other factors that lead to degenerative disc disease

While degenerative disc disease represents a disc that slowly deteriorates over time, there can be other factors that progress this condition simply other than age. For example, certain lifestyle choices may make you more susceptible to developing a damaged disc early. Understanding the causes of degenerative disc disease can help you make small changes in your lifestyle to promote a healthier spine and possibly postpone a degenerative disc condition.

Some tips to maintain overall spine health include:

  • Maintain a healthy weight to reduce pressure on the spine
  • Limit alcohol and tobacco use because it dehydrates the discs in the spine and lowers the circulation to the discs
  • Exercise regularly to strengthen the muscles around the spine so they can help support the body’s weight
  • Avoid high-impact activities to prevent the unnecessary jostling of the spine

Treating degenerative disc disease

While the causes of degenerative disc disease are not always preventable, related symptoms, such as neck pain, back pain, tingling, muscle weakness, numbness, stiffness and inflammation typically can be managed using conservative treatment methods. Your doctor can recommend a series of conservative treatments after diagnosing your condition and reviewing your medical history. These treatments can include lifestyle changes, pain medication, physical therapy, chiropractic care and stretching exercises.

Typically, conservative treatment takes several weeks or months before any lasting relief is felt. If, after several weeks or months of treatment, you are still experiencing pain, contact the dedicated team at Laser Spine Institute to ask about our minimally invasive spine surgery for degenerative disc disease. We can help you move to the next step on your journey to wellness.

Our minimally invasive spine surgery offers patients a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ During our procedure, a small incision is made in the back, through which the surgeon moves the muscles aside to reach the spine.

Depending on the procedure you need, the disc may be removed and replaced with an artificial disc and bone grafts to support the spine while removing pressure from the pinched nerve. Sometimes just a small portion of the spine can be removed through a decompression surgery, making a stabilization surgery unnecessary. For many patients, in fact, a decompression surgery is the most appropriate treatment option for a damaged disc.

At Laser Spine Institute, our procedures are built around patient-centered care and have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from their chronic neck and back conditions, such as degenerative disc disease. To find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, reach out to our dedicated team and request a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan.*