Degenerative disc disease is a term used to describe the normal changes in your spinal discs as you age. Spinal discs are soft, compressible structures that separate the interlocking bones (vertebrae) that make up the spine. The discs act as shock absorbers for the spine, allowing it to flex, bend, and twist. Degenerative disc disease can take place throughout the spine, but it most often occurs in the discs in the lower back (lumbar region) and the neck (cervical region). The changes in the discs can result in herniated discs, where the jelly like center of the disc breaks through the weakened outer wall and causes spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal canal and the impinging on the spinal nerve roots.
Pain associated with degenerative disc disease can be inflammatory and/or mechanical. Inflammatory pain is caused by the release of chemicals in the nucleus of the disc that irritates nerve endings. Mechanical pain is due to the physical compression of a nerve root as a result of herniation or disc space compression.
There are some common symptoms that are fairly consistent for people with pain from degenerative disc disease:
- Severe episodes of back or neck pain that will generally last from a few days to a few months before the patient goes back to his or her baseline level of chronic pain.
- Certain types of activity will usually worsen the pain, especially bending, lifting, and twisting.
- Certain positions will usually make the pain worse.
- For example, for lumbar degenerative disc pain, the pain is generally made worse with sitting, since in the seated position the lumbosacral discs are loaded three times more than standing.
- Walking, and even running, may actually feel better than prolonged sitting or standing.
- Patients will generally feel better if they can change positions frequently.
- Patients with lumbar degenerative disc disease will generally feel better lying in a reclining position (such as with legs propped up in a recliner), or lying down with a pillow under the knees, since these positions relieve stress on the lumbar disc space.
There are warning signs that you may need help for degenerative disc disease, including surgery. They include:
- Pain that is getting worse over time
- Pain is frequently disabling
- Experiencing leg weakness, pain, numbness, or tingling
- Experiencing loss of bowel or bladder control
The Bonati Spine Institute can help those suffering with degenerative disc disease. By utilizing the targeted Bonati Spine Procedures, with techniques developed and patented by Dr. Bonati, patients have received amazing results and report a 98.75% patient satisfaction rating. If you are suffering from back or neck pain and would like to discuss your case with our team, we would be happy to speak to you. Simply click here or call us at 855-267-0482.