How is degenerative disc disease treated?
If you develop osteoarthritis, a herniated disc, or spinal stenosis, you may need treatments. These include oral medication, physical therapy or injection. In some rare cases, surgery may be recommended.
How is Degenerative Disc Disease Diagnosed?
A doctor can often diagnose degenerative disc disease while doing a physical exam. If your exam shows no signs of a serious condition, imaging tests (such as an X-ray) aren’t likely to help your doctor find the cause of your symptoms.
Sometimes degenerative disc disease is found when an X-ray is taken for another reason, such as an injury or other health problem. But even if the doctor finds degenerative disc disease, that doesn’t always mean that you will have symptoms.
What are the Symptoms for
Degenerative Disc Disease?
Many people with degenerative disc disease have no pain. But others have severe pain or other symptoms that limit their activities. Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Pain in the back or neck. Where the pain occurs depends on which discs are affected.
- Pain that gets worse when you move, such as when you bend over, reach up, or twist.
- Pain that may occur in the rear end (buttocks), arm, or leg if a nerve is pinched.
- Numbness or tingling in your arm or leg
The pain may start after a major injury (such as from a car accident), a minor injury (such as a fall from a low height), or a normal motion (such as bending over to pick something up). It may also start gradually for no known reason and get worse over time.
What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease isn’t really a disease. It’s a term used to describe the normal changes in your spinal discs as you age. Spinal discs are small, spongy discs that separate the bones (vertebrae) that make up the spine. The discs act as shock absorbers for the spine. They let your spine flex, bend, and twist.
Degenerative disc disease can take place in one or more places along the spine. It most often occurs in the discs in the lower back and the neck.