Degenerative disc disease is the term used by our orthopedic spine specialist at Advanced Spine & Orthopedics in Southlake to describe the deteriorating effects of aging on the spine. The discs in the spine are soft and compressible that separate the connecting bones that make up the spine. They allow the spine to flex, bend and twist in a fluid pain-free motion. Over time, these discs can get worn down and lose fluid, collapse, or even rupture resulting in back pain.
Symptoms of degenerative disc disease vary greatly from person to person. While some people may experience severe back pain, others may experience slight discomfort. These are usually brought out by certain movements such as reaching out, reaching up, bending over, or twisting around.
Depending on the severity and location of the condition, the pain may also affect your arms, legs, and neck. In some cases, individuals may experience a weakening of the leg muscles or other issues that may indicate damage to the nerve root. It is important to have these symptoms checked by our orthopedic spine specialist as they can result in further conditions such as:
There are several factors that can lead to the development of degenerative disc disease. Age is a common contributing factor. Wear and tear due to years of sports and other physically demanding activities can also lead to the development of disc disease. The Primary causes of degenerative disk disease are:
Drying of Spinal Discs
At birth, the spinal discs are composed of a high percentage of water. As the body ages, the disks slowly dry out. This reduces their ability to absorb shock when pressure is placed on them.
Wear and Tear
Sports and other daily physical activity can cause tears to form on the spinal disks. While this also occurs over the years, daily physical activity like sports can accelerate the issue.
Injury to the Spinal Disks
Injury to the spinal disks can lead to a multitude of issues such as instability, swelling, soreness, and lower back pain.
While there is no cure for degenerative disc disease, there are a variety of non-surgical and surgical treatment options available. Our orthopedic spine specialist will opt for conservative treatments first. If the condition is causing the spine to be unstable and painful, then surgery may be recommended. The type of back surgery required will be dependent upon the location of the degenerative disc in your spine.