Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is a very common condition of the spine and essentially a form of arthritis.
There’s a disc between each of your back bones, or Vertebrae, that make up the spine. Behind these discs are spinal nerves. Each disc has a hard outer layer and a soft gel-like center. This center is extremely important because it holds a high water content and oxygen nutrients that helps the disc to heal if it suffers an injury.
Degenerative Disc Disease is when due to wear and tear, the water content inside the discs decreases and in return the discs become dehydrated and shrink or flatten. When the discs in your back flatten, room is compromised and the lack of space puts pressure on your spinal nerves and facet joints of the spine. This often results in pain.
Those suffering from Degenerative Disc Disease often suffer from pain when sitting down or when first waking up that slowly goes away throughout the day.
Degenerative Disc Disease can also cause numbness, tingling, weakness and many common symptoms of arthritis such as stiffness. Occasionally as a natural reaction, your body will send off signals trying to fix the problem by developing spurs on both ends of the bone. If left unmonitored and untreated, these spurs can begin to grow together resulting in many other complications.
There are several different treatment options for Degenerative Disc Disease depending on the patient’s overall health and the severity of their Degenerative Disc Disease. Some treatment options include anti-inflammatory medications, weight loss and physical therapy. If all other options fail, surgery may be considered. A large percentage of patients with Degenerative Disc Disease over 65 end up requiring surgery.
If you’ve been diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease and are experiencing pain, please visit our pain clinic in Charlottesville, VA to learn more about what we can do for you and discuss advanced state of the art minimally invasive interventions that may help.