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 nearby nerve root, bothersome symptoms can appear.
The types of degenerative disc diseases include a herniated disc, bulging disc, protruding disc, annular tear, and spondylolisthesis. All these conditions are associated with the breakdown of a spinal disc due to the wear and tear of the spine over several years. To learn more about the signs of degenerative disc disease, read the following article.
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.
If your symptoms do not 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
Degenerative disc disease responds best to a collection of treatments, also known as a treatment plan. By utilizing a variety of methods, you can treat your condition while making the necessary lifestyle changes to improve spine health.
In most cases, degenerative disc disease symptoms can be relieved through the use of conservative treatments, which may involve:
- The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Physical therapy
- Hot and cold therapy
- Low-impact exercise and strength training initiatives
- Posture modification exercises
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. BEST Health System specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery that allows for a faster recovery on an outpatient basis. If you are interested in learning more about the treatment options offered through BEST, contact our team today and get started on your path to recovery. The BEST is yet to come.