Degenerative disc disease pain

Low back pain caused by conditions such as degenerative disc disease affects more than 65 million individuals across the world. It is extremely common for individuals above the age of 50 to have some form of degenerative disc disease (DDD), even though they may not experience any symptoms. As the spine wears down over time, certain spine conditions like degenerative disc disease, may develop and cause pain. To learn about what causes this condition to be symptomatic as well as the treatments available to provide you with lasting relief from your symptoms, read the following article.

Why do some cases cause pain and others don’t present any symptoms?

Our spine is made up of vertebrae, discs, joints, ligaments and muscles. The spinal discs are soft cushions in between the vertebrae, and when functioning correctly, the discs protect our spine and act as ligaments to join adjacent vertebrae. As we age, it’s common for discs to weaken as they lose their natural moisture from degenerative disc disease.

Common symptoms of degenerative disc disease include traveling pain, localized pain, numbness, weakness and tingling around the spine and in the extremities, but only if disc damage compresses the spinal nerves. Conditions that may cause nerve compression include bulging or herniated discs, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis, among others. Degenerative disc disease pain can vary depending on the location of damage.

Types of degenerative disc pain include:

  • Lumbar disc pain. This includes disc damage in the lower back affecting nerves that control sensation in the buttocks, legs and feet. You may experience pain that shoots down the back of the leg, around to the calf and down through the toes due to sciatic nerve pressure.
  • Thoracic disc pain. You may feel pain near the rib cage, sternum, torso and inner arms. You may also feel discomfort when twisting, arching or bending your back. Numbness or tingling may occur.
  • Cervical disc pain. This includes the upper neck and back. Damage to discs between the cervical vertebrae may result in pain, tingling or loss of feeling in the neck or shoulders. Since these vertebrae link the spine to the head, problems with neck coordination may occur.

Treatment for degenerative disc disease pain

If you believe degenerative disc disease is causing your pain, we recommend you consult your primary care physician. Your doctor may perform a physical exam and an MRI or CT scan to confirm your diagnosis and help determine which treatments are available for you. Your physician may recommend a series of nonsurgical treatments, such as pain medication, physical therapy, low-impact exercise and hot/cold therapy.

If several weeks or months of these treatments prove unsuccessful at providing you with sufficient relief, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery can help release the pressure on the compressed nerves in your spine without the highly invasive nature or increased risks of traditional open back surgery.

In fact, our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures are performed using a small incision that is muscle sparing, allowing for a shorter recovery period and a lower risk of complication compared to traditional open spine surgery.^ Because these are outpatient procedures, our patients can be up and walking within a few hours of surgery.^

Reach out to the dedicated team at Laser Spine Institute today to take the next step toward recapturing your quality of life from this debilitating spine condition. We offer a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery to relieve your degenerative disc disease pain.