Degenerative disc disease is often a trigger for conditions like herniated discs and spinal stenosis, which both can cause chronic, sometimes severe back pain. If your back pain has become a persistent problem, you should visit Performance Pain and Sports Medicine. Their multidisciplinary team provides physical therapies, regenerative medicine, and advanced minimally invasive procedures to relieve your back pain. Find out more by calling one of the practice’s offices in either Houston, Texas; Newtown, Pennsylvania; or Raritan, Bordentown, East Brunswick, or Lawrenceville, New Jersey, today.
Degenerative disc disease is a disorder that can develop as you age because your intervertebral discs harden and flatten.
The intervertebral discs are spongy circles of tissue that sit between each of the vertebrae that make up your spine. When you're young, these discs are well-hydrated and plump, but as you get older, the water content reduces, and the tissues dry out.
Your body also stops renewing the cells in your discs so efficiently. The result is flatter, weaker discs that are prone to damage. Factors that can worsen or hasten the progression of degenerative disc disease include:
Degenerative disc disease can be a factor in the development of other back problems, such as spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine), herniated discs, osteophytes (bone spurs), and radiculopathy (pinched nerves).
Many people have degenerative disc disease without experiencing symptoms. Problems typically arise if the flattened discs lead to changes in your spine that put pressure on nerves in and around the spinal canal.
Pinched nerves (radiculopathy) are most likely to cause neck (cervical) pain and lower back (lumbar) pain. If you have cervical radiculopathy, you're likely to experience radiating arm pain. Lumbar radiculopathy can cause radiating leg pain.
As degenerative disc disease progresses, you might develop a chronic backache and reduced flexibility in your spine. These symptoms typically develop after the age of 50.
Once the Performance Pain and Sports Medicine team confirms you have degenerative disc disease, they prepare a suitable treatment program personalized to your needs. Initial treatments are likely to be conservative because, for most patients, this approach delivers good results with a low risk of complications.
Your treatment plan could include a combination of:
If your symptoms don't lessen, the Performance Pain and Sports Medicine team offers additional, advanced treatments.
Advanced approaches for persistent symptoms of degenerative disc disease include:
These image-guided procedures involve injecting a local anesthetic and, in most cases, a steroid medication into the epidural space around your spinal cord.
The team uses COOLIEF® water-cooled radiofrequency ablation technology to temporarily deactivate the pain nerves in your spinal discs.
The Performance Pain and Sports Medicine teams use the Dekompressor® disc removal system to extract damaged pieces of the disc.
These minimally invasive spinal procedures remove disc herniations and relieve the pressure on pinched nerves.
The team at Performance Pain and Sports Medicine makes sure you have the one-on-one time you need with your specialist to get the best diagnosis and most appropriate care. Find out how these treatments could help you by calling today.