Degenerative disc disease involves the deterioration over time of the cartilage-composed discs in the vertebrae. This deterioration occurs as the water content of the body's cartilage diminishes, resulting in more fragile, thinning cartilage and, thus, weaker discs. Everyone is subject to disc degeneration with age. Not everyone, however, will develop symptoms.
How does degenerative disc disease develop?
Degeneration of the cartilage in the discs is a natural part of aging. Tears can also occur in the outer lining, or annulus, of the discs. In adults, the annulus contains nerve fibers, which means a tear in this region can be quite painful.
As disc degeneration progresses over time, the associated pain usually gets better. This is because back muscles and ligaments work to stabilize the vertebral segments. Eventually, however, the muscles and ligaments become lax and pain returns. Disc degeneration seems to occur more quickly in some than in others. Also, for reasons unknown, some individuals experience much more pain with these degenerative changes than others do.
What are the symptoms of degenerative disc disease?
The primary symptom associated with degenerative disc disease is midline back pain. Individuals may also experience "referred pain" in the buttocks, pelvis and sacroiliac joints, as well as in the backs of the thighs. Pain associated with this condition usually intensifies during sitting, bending, lifting, twisting and prolonged standing. Changing positions frequently and lying down usually helps ease the back pain as it relieves stress on the disc space.
The severity of pain can range from a nagging irritation to severe and disabling pain. Most patients experience some underlying chronic low back pain, with intermittent episodes of severe low back pain to the point of feeling as if their back has "gone out." These severe episodes generally last from a few days to a few months before the chronic pain returns to its baseline level. Low back pain may also be accompanied by leg pain, numbness and tingling.
Conventional medical treatments may help relieve the symptoms of degenerative disc disease, but they do not address the root of the problem. By strengthening structural weaknesses in the body, as natural medicine treatments like Prolotherapy do, pain associated with degenerative disc disease may be alleviated permanently.
The treatment regimens suggested here are based on the experience of Caring Medical. They do not apply to every case or condition. A person using these recommendations without the aid of a personal physician does so at their own risk.
This information is provided for informational purposes only. It is essential to have your condition evaluated by your own personal physician.
For an appointment with Ross Hauser, M.D., please call 708-848-7789. or email us at email@example.com.