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Degenerative Disc Disease

As we age, the discs in our spine weaken or become damaged from the wear and tear of daily activities. Degenerative disc disease describes the normal changes in spinal discs due to aging. Spinal discs are soft, compressible discs that separate the interlocking bones (vertebrae) that make up the spine. They act as shock absorbers for the spine, allowing it to flex, bend and twist. Changes in spinal discs can result in back or neck pain, osteoarthritis (the breakdown of tissue that protects and cushions joints), herniated disc or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal). These conditions may put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, leading to pain and possibly affecting nerve function.

Treatment

Disc degeneration often leads to bone spurs that can cause nerve impingement and severe pain. Using minimally invasive techniques, our back and spine experts shave the bone spurs off, freeing the nerve and relieving the pain without causing unneeded trauma to surrounding tissue. In fact, we avoid cutting muscle altogether so you can get back to life as quickly as possible.

Cause

Degenerative disc disease results from the effects of aging on discs in the spine.

Symptoms

Degenerative disc disease may result in back or neck pain, but this varies from person to person. Many people have no pain, while others with the same amount of disc damage have severe pain that limits their activities. Where the pain occurs depends on the location of the affected disc. An affected disc in the lower back may result in pain in the back, buttocks or leg. An affected disc in the neck area may result in neck or arm pain. The pain often gets worse with movements such as bending over, reaching up or twisting.

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