Degenerative Disc Disease

When Discs Go Bad

Do you suffer from lower back or neck pain?

Degenerative Disc Disease Did you know spine and back pain is the second leading cause of disability in the United States?

A common culprit of neck and back pain is a condition called Degenerative Disc Disease.

Your spine consists of 33 vertebrae; each of these sections is separated by a spinal disc. A healthy disc is fat and happy. It acts as a shock absorber and cushion between each vertebrae.

Degenerative Disc Disease is a condition where the discs in the spine break down, so much so, they cause pain and do not function, as they should.

Characteristics of Degenerative Disc Disease

An unhealthy disc is dry, arthritic, and thin and bulges outward.

The disc is getting drier. As the disc becomes drier it physically loses height and its ability to absorb shock. This creates extra stress on the joint and the loss of height makes the nerve openings or foramen smaller, which can eventually pinch the nerve, roots.

The disc begins to bulge. Much like a tire as it become flat, as a disc become drier it starts to protrude or bulge out along the edges. As the bulge gets bigger it makes the nerve openings or foramen on the side of the vertebrae smaller, which can result in pressure against the nerve.

The disc gets smaller. As the disc gets smaller it absorbs less shock, which puts added stress on the vertebrae. This added stress causes the vertebrae to become arthritic as a result of the bones rubbing against each other. The constant friction causes the bones to build up which exacerbates the condition.

Symptoms

The most common locations of Degenerative disc Disease happen along the top portion and bottom portion of your spine.

This accounts for why it most commonly causes neck and lower back pain.

If your condition causes a pinched or compressed nerve it can also cause symptoms like pain, numbness, weakness and tingling sensations along the nerve path. For example, a damaged disc and pinched nerve near your neck can cause symptoms in your shoulders, neck, arms, and hands.

FIND A TOP10MD PAIN MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST

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