BSP 21: An Overview of Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a common condition that results in neck and back pain. The condition is also one of the least understood medical condition.

Degenerative disc disease can result in pain in the neck and back. The pain due to degenerative disc can occur in the lower or upper back. In this post, you will learn more about how degenerative disc disease causes back pain.

About Degenerative Disc Disease

Disc degermation is common that occurs with time. The spinal disks at the back act similar to shock absorbers in a car. They are located between the bones and vertebrae of the spine. The discs help the back stay flexible as you twist and bend.

Symptoms of degenerative disc disease include numbness, weakness, and shooting pains. The pain can occur in the back or also the arms and legs, known as radicular pain. Disc degeneration typically consists of a chronic pain with intermittent episodes of severe pain.

Types of a Disc Degeneration

There are two common types of disc degeneration.

-Lumbar Spine — Disc degeneration in the lumbar spine results in pain in the lower back.

-Cervical Spine — Cervical spine degermation results in pain in the neck.

-Thoracic Spine —  Disc degeneration in the thoracic spine results in pain in the upper back.

The spinal disc near the neck and the back undergo the most stress. That’s why the area is susceptible to disc degermation.

The term degenerative disc disease may imply that the symptoms worsen over time. But that’s not the case. The medical term describes the process of the disc degenerating over time that leads to different symptoms.

Also, degenerative disc disease is not a disease per se. Instead, it’s a natural condition that occur with age due to wear and tear of the spinal disc. This results in pain, lack of coordination and other symptoms. Most disc degeneration condition does not result in long term disability. The condition can also be managed using nonsurgical treatment options.

The pain does not generally worsen over time. In fact, the pain usually gets better with rest.

Diagnosis of Disc Degeneration Disease

Accurate diagnosis of disc degermation disease is important for correct treatment. However, medical literature does not agree on the best diagnostic test to test the condition. Doctors may carry on different tests including MRI scans, CT scans, physical examination, and historical review in order to diagnose the problem.

Disc degeneration can hasten other problems such as:

  • -Osteoarthritis —This occurs due to changes in the facet joints at the back due to disc degeneration.
  • -Scoliosis — In scoliosis, the disc degenerates in a lopsided fashion resulting in the formation of a ‘curve’.
  • -Spinal stenosis — The condition involves spinal degeneration that result in spinal cord or nerve root pinching.
  • -Spondylolisthesis — This condition occurs when the vertebral body part rubs with another as a result of degenerative disc disease.

You should not to ignore symptoms of degenerative disc disease. A spinal specialist will carry on a thorough examination to know about the exact condition. Nonsurgical and surgical treatment option may be suggested depending on the condition.


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Robin BackPainExpert

Physiotherapists & Back Pain Expert

Twenty years ago I was lucky to survive a serious hockey injury. In a sport where big men zoomaround on hard ice and solid wood sticks are slung furiously, a difficult back injury is what every player fears.
It took a long time for me to climb back to a normal life. But when I did, I was determined to spend the rest of his life helping back pain victims everywhere.
As a physiotherapist and back pain expert I have treated thousands of patients over 20 years, built a respected back pain clinic, created the site BackPainSecrets.Com and authored the book “Back Pain Secrets.”
Learn more about me here.