Degenerative Disc Disease

What is degenerative disc disease?

Discs are the shock absorbers of the spine. They help your back stay flexible despite the tremendous pressure it can come under. Degenerative disc disease is an illness in which damage to a disc occurs and, over a period of years, the disc steadily declines. Little blood flows to the discs in the spine, limiting their ability to repair themselves.

Causes of degenerative disc disease

Age is a significant factor in the development of degenerative disc disease. Other potential causes include injuries, wear and tear, and the drying out of the disc over time.

Symptoms of degenerative disc disease:

  • Pain that occurs when sitting, bending, lifting or twisting
  • Feeling better while walking, running, changing positions or lying down
  • Severe pain that comes and goes, sometimes lasting a few days and sometimes lasting months at a time
  • Pain that starts in the lower back, buttocks and thighs, or neck (depending on where the affected disc is) and radiates to the arms and hands
  • Numbness and tingling in the limbs
  • Weakness in the leg muscles or foot drop, which can indicate damage to a nerve root


Treatment of degenerative disc disease

Non-surgical and surgical treatment options are available if you're suffering from degenerative disc disease. Non-surgical alternatives include physical therapy, medicines, acupuncture, chiropractics, electrotherapy and stress management counseling

A variety of traditional and minimally invasive surgical options may also offer relief for degenerative disc disease. They include disc replacement, spinal fusion and decompression procedures.

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Symptoms and Screenings for Degenerative Disc Disease

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Causes and Preventions for Degenerative Disc Disease

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Education and Resources for Degenerative Disc Disease

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Support groups for Degenerative Disc Disease

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Learn More about Degenerative Disc Disease

Vidant Health can connect you to health care professionals to help you understand your condition and guide you through the treatment process. Let’s chat.

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