Degenerative disc disease is a condition caused by the natural breakdown of the discs in the spinal column. The spinal discs cushion the vertebrae, allowing the spine to bend and flex, and consist of a tough outer layer and soft inner material. With age, these discs begin to dry out and lose protein content, making them less able to withstand the pressure they’re constantly being placed under. Degenerative disc disease can result in loss of disc height, bulges, protrusions and herniation.
Disability benefits for degenerative disc disease
Everyone experiences some amount of disc degeneration and this condition can be present without causing any pain or symptoms. For others, it can result in symptoms that make it extremely difficult to accomplish normal activities, including getting through a day of work.
According to the Social Security Administration, degenerative disc disease is on the list of eligible conditions for disability benefits. Like other health problems, the following factors are considered in the claims approval process:
- Medical records of diagnosis and treatment
- Severity of symptoms and length of time they’ve been occurring
- How long the condition has prevented the ability to do your job
- Alternative work or duties available
The Social Security Administration can give you more detailed information about the process for claiming disability benefits.
Treatment for degenerative disc disease to return to work
Although degenerative disc disease is age-related and the symptoms can be debilitating, there are still effective treatment options to help you find relief and get back to normal activities such as work. Partner with your doctor to make sure treatment options have been thoroughly explored. This includes conservative therapies such as medication, physical therapy, massage, epidural steroid injections and chiropractic care.
You should also follow your doctor’s advice about quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a nutritious diet, staying active and practicing good posture. While degenerative disc disease is not reversible, living a healthy lifestyle can improve spine health and potentially help with pain relief.
Spine surgery can become an option for degenerative disc disease if weeks or months have gone by without bringing the relief necessary to return to work and other daily activities. Patients in this situation can contact USA Spine Care to learn about the benefits our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery offers people dealing with chronic neck or back pain. In fact, 81 percent of patients undergoing minimally invasive decompression surgery and 70 percent of our minimally invasive stabilization patients return to work within three months of surgery.^
We’re happy to offer a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.
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