Degenerative disc disease is not really a disease but a term utilized to describe the way your spine changes as you age. Spinal discs tend to be smooth, compressible discs that separate the interlocking vertebrae the spine is comprised of. The discs act as springs for the vertebrae, allowing the spine to flex, bend, and twist. Degenerative disc disease can affect different spots throughout the spine, but it generally frequents the discs in the lower back (lumbar area) and the neck (cervical area).
- The changes in the discs can result in back or neck discomfort and/or:
- -Osteoarthritis, the breakdown of the tissue (cartilage) that protects and cushions joints.
- -Herniated disc, an abnormal bulge or breaking open of a spinal disc.
- -Spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal canal, the open area in the spine that holds the spinal cord.
what causes degenerative disc disease?
- As you age, your spinal discs break up, or degenerates, which may result in degenerative disc disease in some people. These age-related changes may include:
- Osteoarthritis, the breakdown of the tissue (cartilage) that protects and cushions joints.
- Herniated disc, an abnormal bulge or breaking open of a spinal disc.
- Spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal canal, the open area in the spine that holds the spinal cord.
These changes are a bit more probably to happen in men and women which smoke cigarettes and those whom have jobs that require heavy lifting. Overweight are also a bit more probably to have symptoms of degenerative disc disease. An injury leading to a herniated disc man additionally start the degeneration process.
As the area between the vertebrae gets thinner, there is less padding between them, and the spine becomes weaker. The body responds to this by constructing bony growths named bone spurs (osteophytes). Bone spurs can place pressure level on the spinal nerve roots or spinal cord, resulting in intense pain and negatively impacting nerve function.
What tend to be the symptoms?
Degenerative disc disease may result in back or neck discomfort, but this changes from person to person. Numerous men and women have no discomfort, while many with than exact same level of disc damage have severe discomfort that limits their activities. Exactly where the discomfort happens depends on the location of the suffering disc. An suffering disc in the neck area may result in neck pain, while an affected disc in the lower back may result in hurt in the back, buttock, or leg. The hurt frequently gets even worse with movements these types of as bending over, gaining up, or twisting. The discomfort may begin after a major injury (like an auto crash), a minor injury (like a small fall), or a normal movement (like picking something up incorrectly). It may additionally begin progressively for no known reason and get even worse over as time passes.
How is degenerative disc disease diagnosed?
- Degenerative disc disease is diagnosed with a medical history and physical exam. Your medical provider will ask about your symptoms, injuries or diseases, any preceding procedures, and practices and activities that may have caused pain in the neck, hands, back, buttock, or leg. During the physical exam, your health care provider will:
- Check the range of movement and pinpoint the exact location of the pain.
- Check for areas of tenderness, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the suffering area, or changes in reflexes.
- Have a look at for different conditions, like bone fractures, tumors, and infection.
If your examination doesn't reveal anything, imaging tests, like an X-ray, generally will not reveal anything else. Imaging tests may be considered whenever your symptoms develop after an injury, nerve damage is suspected, or your medical history show a propensity towards conditions that could affect your spine, like bone tissue disease, tumors, or infection.