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What Is Degenerative Disc Disease? Comprehensive Answers from Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX

Degenerative disc disease is a common spinal condition. The spine is composed of 33 vertebrae (small, strong bones) that are separated by soft, flexible discs. Because the discs absorb the shock sustained by the spine during a wide range of activities, they tend to wear down over time. As the discs become less resilient, they can become more prone to damage. For instance, a disc’s outer shell can dry out and crack. Its soft inner material can then leak out into the spinal canal, where it can push against the spinal cord or a nearby nerve root.

Degenerative disc disease symptoms

Degenerative changes in the spine are not always painful. In some cases, the process can go undetected. However, compression of the spinal cord and spinal nerves tends to be more problematic. The most common symptoms of spinal nerve compression include:

  • Localized neck or back pain
  • Pain in the arms or legs
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling or numbness

How do you treat degenerative disc disease?

Minor disc degeneration may not require immediate treatment. If nerve compression develops, however, there may be several options to help relieve the resulting symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medications, pain relievers, spinal injections, physical therapy, and chiropractic adjustments all have the potential to help. In more severe cases, surgery can also become an option. A surgeon can remove some of the degenerated disc material from the spinal canal, potentially providing relief in the event that conservative therapies do not.

At Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, we offer a full spectrum of degenerative disc disease treatments. Patients can consult with our neck and back pain specialists to discuss the options for their unique needs. Offering comprehensive, customized treatment plans, we are able to help our patients find the relief they need to get back to their active lives.

To schedule an appointment with one of our degenerative disc disease specialists, contact Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, today. We have several full-service locations throughout the area and invite you to visit whichever location is most convenient for you.