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Can degenerative disc disease be reversed?

Degenerative disc disease is a relatively common spine condition that affects the cushioning discs between vertebrae. Through daily activity, these discs sustain significant wear and tear over time, which causes them to gradually become drier, thinner and more prone to breakdown. Because degenerative disc disease occurs naturally with age, it cannot be fully avoided, nor can its effects be reversed. However, many people are able to effectively manage the associated neck or back pain and prevent their symptoms from getting worse.

How to live more comfortably with degenerative disc disease

If your degenerative disc disease is causing you mild-to-moderate discomfort, a physician will likely advise you to try self-care and nonsurgical therapy. For instance, regular exercise and proper nutrition can be very effective for enhancing your overall health, including your spine health. In addition, the following measures may help you get through painful flare-ups:

  • Ice applications. Wrap a cold pack in a towel and apply it directly to a tender area of your neck or back to calm inflammation and numb pain. You can safely use this relatively simple and inexpensive treatment as often as needed.
  • Heat applications. Apply a heating pad or moist heat pack to a sore area of your neck or back to help relax taut muscles around a damaged disc. You can also use this therapy before you stretch or exercise to warm up your muscles and help prevent injuries.
  • Over-the-counter medications. A nonprescription NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), such as ibuprofen, can reduce painful inflammation around a degenerated disc.

If you achieve good results — such as improved comfort and enhanced function — with conservative therapy, this treatment approach may ultimately provide you with all the relief you need to manage your degenerative disc disease symptoms.

Surgery for degenerative disc disease

Surgery is sometimes recommended to address very severe or debilitating degenerative disc disease symptoms. If you’d like to learn more about this approach, contact USA Spine Care. We can answer your questions and provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive outpatient surgery, which is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^

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