Degenerative disc disease is a spinal condition in which the discs deteriorate as a result of years of wear and tear. The spinal discs serve as “shock absorbers” for the spine, absorbing impact and allowing for fluid motion within the spine. As we age, they become dehydrated and brittle, increasing the possibility of a disc becoming misshapen or developing a tear. If you’re concerned about degenerative disc disease, you may be wondering what symptoms it can cause and how these symptoms may affect your daily life.
Symptoms of degenerative disc disease
Many individuals with degenerative disc disease are not aware of it, as this condition may not cause any symptoms or require any treatment. Symptoms are more likely to occur if a damaged disc comes in contact with a nearby nerve root or the spinal cord, which may result in:
- Localized pain
- Pain that radiates along the nerve pathway
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Muscle weakness or cramping
These symptoms may come and go or be more persistent. Additionally, the location of the damaged disc will determine where you experience the most symptoms. For example, if degenerative disc disease affects the lumbar spine (lower back), symptoms may occur in the buttocks, legs and feet. Similarly, degenerative disc disease in the cervical spine (neck area) may cause symptoms in the shoulders, arms and hands.
Daily life with degenerative disc disease
How degenerative disc disease affects your daily life will depend on many factors, including the severity of your symptoms and the location of the affected disc. If your symptoms are mild, you may be able to manage them effectively using pain medications, hot/cold compresses and other conservative treatments. In more severe cases, symptoms may be debilitating, making simple tasks like getting dressed or walking down the stairs close to impossible.
If you have degenerative disc disease that is interfering with your daily life, you may need to consider surgery to address the condition directly. At USA Spine Care, we specialize in minimally invasive spine surgery for degenerative disc disease and many other spinal conditions. We offer a free MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures. For more information, contact USA Spine Care today.
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