What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a relatively common spine condition that affects the cushioning discs between vertebrae. Through daily activity, these discs sustain significant wear and tear over time, which causes them to gradually become drier, thinner, and more prone to breakdown. Since degenerative disc disease occurs naturally with age, it cannot be fully avoided, nor can its effects be reversed. However, many people are able to effectively manage the associated neck or back pain and prevent their degenerative disc disease symptoms from getting worse.
This is one of the most common spine conditions in adults. Many people with this condition do not even know they have it unless their degenerative disc disease symptoms worsen with time. Although this spine condition is not reversible, the DDD treatment options available are known to drastically help with pain relief. By working with a doctor to strengthen the spine and treating the pain as necessary, relief is possible. Continue reading this article to learn more about living with degenerative disc disease, as well as the associated treatment options.
Living with Degenerative Disc Disease
If your degenerative disc disease is causing you mild-to-moderate discomfort, a physician will likely advise you to try self-care and nonsurgical therapy. For instance, regular exercise and proper nutrition can be very effective for enhancing your overall health, including your spine health. In addition, the following measures may help you get through painful flare-ups:
- Ice applications. Wrap a cold pack in a towel and apply it directly to a tender area of your neck or back to calm inflammation and numb pain. You can safely use this relatively simple and inexpensive DDD treatment as often as needed.
- Heat applications. Apply a heating pad or moist heat pack to a sore area of your neck or back to help relax taut muscles around a damaged disc. You can also use this therapy before you stretch or exercise to warm up your muscles and help prevent injuries.
- Over-the-counter medications. A non-prescription NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), such as ibuprofen, can reduce painful inflammation around a degenerated disc.
If you achieve good results — such as improved comfort and enhanced function — with conservative therapy, this treatment approach may ultimately provide you with all the relief you need to manage your degenerative disc disease symptoms.
If you try these conservative DDD treatments and do not experience any relief, you may be a candidate for surgery. Although the idea of surgery may be overwhelming, it does not have to be. It is important to consider all your options before landing on surgery as your final decision. Additionally, getting a second opinion never hurts.
Degenerative Disc Disease Surgery
Surgery is sometimes recommended to address very severe or debilitating degenerative disc disease symptoms. While considering surgical options, know that traditional surgery is no longer the only option. Modern technology has allowed surgeons to perform these procedures with smaller incisions. Minimally invasive surgery has a variety of benefits, including shorter recovery times, outpatient procedures, and less risk of infection.
If you’d like to learn more about this approach, BEST is here to help. We can answer your questions and help you determine if you are a potential candidate for surgery with BEST.
BEST Health System
Don’t wait any longer to get help. BEST Health System is the industry leader in minimally invasive spine procedures. Enjoy a new approach to surgery and get back to the people you love faster. Contact our dedicated team today to schedule an appointment and find relief. The BEST is yet to come.