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What are the treatments for degenerative disc disease in the lower back?

You might be thinking about degenerative disc disease (DDD) treatment if pain in your lower back is keeping you away from activities that you need or want to perform. But, you should first take a step back and gain an understanding of what’s going on in your spine.

What is degenerative disc disease?

DDD occurs as the spinal discs dry out and lose flexibility, usually due to age-related degeneration. As a result, the discs can become more susceptible to bulging, cracking and tearing. Also, because damaged discs are less effective at cushioning the vertebrae, bone-on-bone contact can occur, followed by the development of protective bone spurs. Back pain and other symptoms can result if any of these issues create pressure on a spinal nerve.

While DDD is relatively common, you’ll want to see a physician for a proper diagnosis before you begin any type of treatment. That way, you can be sure that you take the right approach, which is important because inappropriate treatment could cause your symptoms to worsen. A physician will likely suggest that you begin with self-care measures. Keep in mind that DDD treatments can take some time to take effect, so you shouldn’t feel discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. In general, if your treatment is working, you should begin to notice some improvement within a few weeks.

Conservative treatment for DDD

Here are some commonly recommended degenerative disc disease treatment options, which can usually be used on an as-needed basis:

  • Resting briefly when painful symptoms flare up
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications
  • Heat and ice applications
  • Targeted stretches and low-impact exercises

Additionally, you should be aware that repetitive stress on your spine can increase the rate of degeneration in your discs. By making simple changes to your daily routine, you may be able to avoid body positions and movements that worsen your discomfort. As a general rule of thumb, if a certain activity is painful, you should try an alternate approach — or ask for help.

If your pain persists

A few weeks or months of conservative degenerative disease treatment might be all that you need to feel better and get on with your life. But, if your discomfort shows no signs of letting up, consider contacting USA Spine Care. Our surgeons perform minimally invasive outpatient procedures that are safer and effective alternatives to traditional open spine surgery.^ To find out if you’re a candidate, call us today for a no-cost MRI review.*

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