While degenerative disc disease can develop at any level of the spine, this condition typically develops in the lower back. The lumbar region of the spine (lower back) supports the majority of the body’s weight and is also partially responsible for providing the full range of motion that we require from our lower back.
This combination of weight bearing and mobility takes its toll over the years and can result in the natural deterioration of the parts of the spine, which helps to explain why lower back pain is so prevalent later in life. However, the steps described in the following article can help to slow the onset of degenerative disc disease in the back.
The lumbar spine is under a constant amount of pressure. As a result, the discs responsible for cushioning and separating the lumbar vertebrae tend to become gradually worn and weakened over the years. This natural disc deterioration isn’t necessarily problematic, but if herniated disc material or a swollen disc comes into contact with a nerve root or spinal cord, a number of painful symptoms can be experienced.
Risk factors for degenerative disc disease
While the normal aging process is a leading cause of degenerative disc disease in the back, there are other factors that can increase the likelihood of the condition developing or can worsen the symptoms associated with the condition. Some of the risk factors for degenerative disc disease are:
- Obesity, which increases the burden placed on the lumbar spine
- Poor posture andimproper spinal alignment increases strain on parts of the lumbar spine
- Improper lifting techniques, which greatly increase the chance of experiencing a lower back injury
- Participation in high-impact sports like football, hockey and baseball, which take their toll on the lumbar spine
- The frequent bending, twisting and exertion associated with golfing makes degenerative disc disease in the back a common condition for avid golfers
- Abusing nicotine can interfere with the disc’s ability to absorb nutrients and stay hydrated
Degenerative disc disease treatment
Conservative treatments such as pain medication, physical therapy and low-impact exercise should always be attempted to treat degenerative disc disease prior to any surgical option. If you are experiencing degenerative disc disease in your back and conservative treatments have proven ineffective, contact USA Spine Care.
At USA Spine Care, our minimally invasive spine procedures have helped thousands of patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain each year without the highly invasive nature of traditional open spine surgery. Our board-certified+ surgeons can access the spine using small muscle-sparing techniques, thereby relieving the symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease.
To find out if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient surgery, reach out to us today and ask for a free MRI review.* We can help guide you on your journey to wellness.