Degenerative discogenic disease — overview and treatment options

Degenerative discogenic disease, also called degenerative disc disease, is the progressive weakening of the discs in the spine. The discs lie between the vertebrae that make up the spinal column. To provide cushioning while allowing for movement, the discs are made of a gel-like nucleus surrounded by a tough, elastic outer layer. Because these discs endure so much stress, they are vulnerable to deterioration as they begin to lose water content due to the aging process.

The resulting loss of elasticity can lead to displacement of disc material and nerve compression that are the primary causes of symptoms related to degenerative discogenic disease. The following can help you work more closely with your doctor to find the relief you deserve if this condition is affecting your life.

Degenerative discogenic disease and nerve compression

Natural breakdown of disc material due to degenerative discogenic disease is not necessarily painful and happens to everyone to some degree or another. However, this condition can lead to loss of disc height as well as bulging and herniated discs that can narrow the already tight nerve pathways in the spinal column and compress nerves. This can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Local and radiating pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Mobility problems

Herniated discs can also cause irritation of nerve fibers in the outer layer of the discs, resulting in local disc-based pain.

Treating degenerative discogenic disease

If degenerative discogenic disease or a related condition is diagnosed as the underlying cause of neck pain, back pain or other radiating symptoms, doctors will usually begin treatment with a course of conservative options such as rest, hot and cold compression, over-the-counter medication, physical therapy and spinal injections. Surgery may become an option if you and your physician have decided that this mode of treatment has been fully explored without bringing the relief required for a good quality of life.

Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive spine surgery as a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open neck or back procedures. Since 2005 our highly skilled surgeons have been able to help more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck or back pain while providing a streamlined outpatient experience. For more information about the advantages of Laser Spine Institute, contact us today.

Our dedicated team can help you receive a no-cost MRI or CT scan review* to help you determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.