Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment in Canton & Akron
One of the most common back and neck injuries is attributed to degenerative disc disease. Degenerative disc disease is not a disease, however it is a term used to describe your spinal discs as a person ages. These discs act as shock absorbers for the spine that allows the spine to bend, flex and twist. Degenerative disc disease can occur in all parts of the spine but is more common to occur in the lower back and neck.
Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease
The causes of degenerative disc disease typically occur after an injury, such as a falling from a low height or as severe as an auto accident. Aging can also contribute to the breakdown of spinal discs, which can lead to degenerative disc disease in some people. This can include a loss of fluids in the discs, which causes the discs to be less flexible. Tiny cracks and tears in the outer lay of the disc can occur as well, which can cause the disc to break into pieces. People who smoke cigarettes, lift heavy objects and are obese are more likely to experience symptoms of degenerative disc disease.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
The symptoms of degenerative disc disease can vary from person to person. People with the same amount of disc damage can suffer from different levels of pain. There are a few symptoms that are universally common with those suffering from degenerative disc disease:
- Pain related to activity, that flares up at times but then returns to a low-grade pain or completely disappears
- The level of pain between individuals can vary, from no pain to severe pain
- Severe levels of back and neck pain that can last from a few days to a few months
- Bending, lifting and twisting usually makes the pain worse
- Certain positions can make the pain worse
- Certain positions including walking and running can help relieve the pain
Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease
The pain associated with degenerative disc disease can be treated by heating or icing the area experiencing pain. A physician may prescribe stronger medicines if needed. For more severe health problems, a physician may recommend physical therapy and exercises to help strengthen the back. Surgery may also be recommended to remove the damaged disc. During surgery, the bone may be permanently joined or fused to help protect the spinal cord. Although rare, an artificial disc may be recommended to replace the damaged disc that was removed.
Questions to ask your physician:
- Will my pain become worse with age?
- Will this disease cripple me?
- Should I restrict my activities? How active can I be?
- Will the disease spread throughout the spine?
- Can this cause permanent damage?
- Will I eventually need surgery?
For further information on degenerative disc disease or if you would like to schedule a consultation or appointment with your physician, contact Center for Neuro and Spine at (330) 665-4100. We have three locations in Akron, Canton and Wooster Ohio!