Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease

Our spinal discs act like shock absorbers. Located between the bones, or vertebrae, in our spine, the discs allow our backs to remain flexible as we put our bodies under extreme and everyday motions alike.

Compared to other tissues located in our body, our spinal discs have very poor blood supply. This means that once a disc has been injured, it does not have the ability to repair itself like other parts of our body do. As a result, a downward spiral of disc degeneration sets in with things progressing in an irreversible manner over the next few decades.

Book Your Consultation Today!

The most common cause of low back and neck pain is degenerative disc disease. While it may be called a disease, degenerative disc disease actually isn’t one. It’s classified as a condition and is a form of arthritis. As time goes on almost all of us will develop wear and tear on the discs in our spine. For some, this wear and tear on the discs will result in symptoms in your neck and/or back for reasons that are still unknown. The average sufferer of degenerative disc disease is likely younger than you would think. While the condition, and its symptoms, get worse as we get older, the average person with degenerative disc disease is usually in their 30s or 40s and is generally healthy and active.

What causes degenerative disc disease?

One of the main causes of discs degenerating has to do with aging of the spine. The year-after-year wear and tear that our bodies go through is shared by all our joints and body parts, with our spinal discs not being an exception. Some other things that may cause degenerative disc disease include: 

  • Our spinal discs drying out (when we’re born our discs are roughly 80 per cent water but as we age, they dry out and become worse at absorbing impacts)
  • Sports
  • Day-to-day activities
  • Trauma or injuries

Symptoms of degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease can lead to pain and a wide assortment of symptoms depending on where the damaged disc is located in your spine. Degenerating discs, however, do not always result in symptoms. The severity of symptoms is wide-ranging as well.

Some of the common symptoms of this condition include: 

  • Increased pain when sitting down
  • Increased pain while lifting, bending, or twisting
  • Instances of severe pain that ebb and flow which can last a few days or a few months (the pain can range from annoying to debilitating and can affect your lower back, thighs, buttocks, or neck depending on where the damaged disc is located)
  • Tingling or numbness in your extremities 
  • Muscle weakness in your legs

It is important to note that degenerative disc disease may be present and visible on the MRI and x-rays of individuals who do not have symptoms and may not ever develop symptoms. Therefore, the mere presence of these changes on imaging do not require treatment in the absence of symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Degenerative disc disease is diagnosed through reviewing your medical history, a physical exam and MRI.

Most can manage their pain with an active exercise program. Some may require spinal injections to manage their symptoms. Surgery should be seen as a last resort and usually entails more complex procedures such as spinal fusion or disc replacement.

Receive the care you need right away

Horizon Surgical can expedite your minimally invasive spine surgery to be done in a timely fashion. From beginning to end, you can typically receive your minimally invasive spine surgery within a couple months. With our reduced recovery times, you’ll be able to get back to living your life and doing what you love most right away.

Have Questions? Call Us Today At

Call Us

TopAbout UsConditionsSurgeriesContact
TopAbout UsConditionsSurgeriesContact