Degenerative disc disease is, in fact, not a true disease. Instead, it is simply a condition that describes the degeneration of a disc over time. As we age, most of us experience degeneration of spinal discs to some degree. The severity of this degeneration varies widely. However, when the degeneration that occurs is severe enough to cause persistent pain, it is often diagnosed as degenerative disc disease.

Because the condition is so general in nature and can vary so much from case to case, the medical community is not yet completely agreed upon what exactly constitutes degenerative disc disease, or exactly when it should be diagnosed or treated as such. With doctors and other medical experts still on the fence about how to define disc degeneration, it is not unsurprising that many patients find this diagnosis broad and hard to understand.

Symptoms of disc degeneration may include:

  • Back or neck pain (can vary in severity)
  • Increase in pain when bending, reaching or twisting
  • Numbness, tingling or weakness in one or more limbs
  • Loss of range of motion

Regardless of its definition or level of specificity, disc degeneration that leads to chronic pain is a legitimate concern for the suffering patient. Such a condition should be addressed as soon as possible, as degeneration of discs can also lead to or exacerbate further spinal conditions like spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis.

Treatment for degenerative disc disease typically begins with non-surgical methods like icing, exercise, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs and/or pain medications. If the degeneration leads to more serious issues like herniated discs or chronic osteoporosis, however, surgical methods like discectomy (removal of the damaged disc) may be recommended.

If you are experiencing neck or back pain that you believe may stem from a damaged disc that has degenerated over time, contact our office to set up an appointment and let Dr. Neece and his team of experts help you find the right treatment.