Signs your degenerative disc disease symptoms are worsening

While the term “degenerative disc disease” sounds ominous, it’s actually a fairly common condition in individuals over the age of 50. The discs in the spine serve as shock absorbers and endure a great deal of wear and tear through the years. This can cause them to lose water content and elasticity, making them susceptible to damage when they are placed under pressure. Disc deterioration can lead to bulges and ruptures, with portions of a disc extending beyond its normal boundaries in the spinal column. If a damaged disc comes in contact with the spinal cord or a nearby nerve root, bothersome symptoms can appear.

Understanding your symptoms

Common degenerative disc disease symptoms include pain that is localized to the area of the affected disc and periodic tingling, muscle weakness and numbness. Many of these symptoms can be alleviated through conservative treatments designed to reduce the strain on the affected area of the spine, such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and hot/cold therapy.

If your symptoms don’t respond to conservative treatment and start to grow more severe, you should contact your doctor about additional treatment options. Signs that your condition is worsening include:

  • Increasing pain levels
  • Pain that radiates to the extremities
  • Muscle spasms
  • Prolonged numbness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Extreme muscle weakness

When to consider surgical treatment

If you are experiencing severe degenerative disc disease symptoms that aren’t responding to conservative treatment, it might be time to consider your surgical options. At Laser Spine Institute, we can provide a free MRI review* that will help determine if you are a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery, which is often clinically appropriate and provides many advantages versus open neck or back surgery.^

If you would like to learn more about our outpatient procedures as a degenerative disc disease treatment option, contact Laser Spine Institute today.