If you’re wondering whether degenerative disc disease can spread through the spine, the answer isn’t quite a yes or no. Degenerative disc disease begins with the effects of wear and tear on your spine coupled with the natural process of getting older. Discs begin to lose their collagen and water content over time, causing them to weaken and shrink. Once a disc loses height and elasticity, it loses the ability to act as a shock absorber for your spine, making your spine less stable and causing movement that involves your neck or back to become more difficult. If your discs can’t properly facilitate movement, the facet joints that stabilize your spine by controlling movement may become overworked, wearing down the cartilage that protects the joints and leading to bony overgrowths that can pinch spinal nerves.
So in short, while degenerative disc disease is not a disease that can spread, per se, it can set off a chain of events that may deteriorate the spine even further. Even one weakened disc can cause the structures around it to weaken, “spreading” from one vertebral level to another in a similar pattern. Some people are born with discs that are prone to more rapid degeneration over time. While this cannot necessarily be prevented, there are measures that you can take to keep your spine healthier as you age, including:
- Eating healthy meals — to prevent putting on excess body weight
- Stretching and exercising — to maintain flexibility and strength in the spine
- Seeing a physical therapist — to learn ways to keep your spine strong and healthy
- Getting epidural steroid injections — that reduce spinal pain to allow you to engage in exercise and physical therapy
If you have degenerative disc disease and are looking for meaningful relief from your painful symptoms, consider turning to the board-certified surgeons+ at USA Spine Care. They have performed more than 100,000 minimally invasive outpatient procedures to help patients overcome their neck or back pain.
Contact USA Spine Care today to learn more about the treatments we offer for those suffering from degenerative disc disease. We can provide you with a free MRI review* to determine whether you’re a candidatefor our minimally invasive procedures.
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