Degenerative disc pain
For many people, degenerating and weakening spinal discs may not present any painful symptoms. For people who experience discomfort, this may be a sign that disc deterioration has led to nerve compression.
These symptoms can be disruptive to your ability to perform normal activities, getting in the way of work, sleep and your time with friends and family. Fortunately there are many treatment options available to help you find relief if you are dealing with degenerative disc pain. The following can help you make an informed decision about your care and give you a better chance of returning to the people and activities you love.
What is degenerative disc pain?
Degenerative disc pain, or pain resulting from degenerative disc disease, is often caused by natural changes to the spinal discs. These discs, which are located between the vertebrae, provide the spine with protection and shock absorption.
Over the years, discs become more brittle, weak and prone to damage. As they lose water content, discs are less able to support our everyday movements. When discs become thin, the vertebrae above and below the disc can shift closer together, which can put pressure on surrounding nerves. Additionally, the discs themselves can bulge and rupture, leading to disc pain and other symptoms as a result of nerve compression.
Specific symptoms of degenerative disc disease
Degenerative disc pain can be experienced both locally as a result of irritation of nerve fibers in the disc itself as well as in the form of traveling symptoms caused by nerve compression. These can include:
- Shooting or burning pain
- Muscle weakness and cramping
Treatment for degenerative disc pain
Doctor-recommended conservative treatments such as medication, epidural steroid injections, rest, hot/cold compression and physical therapy help many patients dealing with degenerative disc disease, but they don’t work for everyone. Surgery can become an option if weeks or months of these and other treatments don’t bring the relief necessary for a good quality of life.
If you have been recommended for spine surgery, it is important to explore the full range of surgical options available to you. Laser Spine Institute specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery to help treat many forms of spinal degeneration. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis to reduce the risk of complication and avoid the overnight hospitalization^ associated with traditional open spine surgery.