Today, more and more people are experiencing pains that are commonly associated with aging. A common condition affecting adults and the elderly is called degenerative disc disease. It is not a disease per se, but a condition that produces symptoms as a result of damaged discs.
The Spinal Discs
Healthy spinal discs provide humans a great degree of flexibility and provide resistance against forceful motions. Unlike other tissues of the body, the spinal discs have very little blood supply, which means if the discs are damaged in any way, the repair process is impeded and the process of degeneration continues for years.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
The damage that sets in progress to a point that makes even the slightest movement painful and difficult. The symptoms of degenerative disc disease include pain, stiffness, and instability. The pain is at its worst while seated or when bending, twisting, or lifting items, and gets better when standing, walking, or running or lying down. The symptoms vary in severity and frequency depending on the stage of the disease.
What Causes It?
Aging is a risk factor for degenerative disc disease and is caused by age-related changes to the spinal discs. When you are born, eighty percent of your spinal discs are composed of water. As you advance in age, slowly, the discs lose water and may dry out. However, people with active lifestyles, particularly those who engage in high-intensity sports can contribute to spinal disc degeneration. A history of back injuries can also contribute to degenerative disc disease. By the time a person reaches the age of 60, he or she may already have some degree of disc degeneration
Diagnosing and Treating Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is diagnosed by evaluating the patient’s symptoms, reviewing his/her medical history, and performing a thorough physical examination. Treating degenerative disc disease is essential to prevent complications of the disease such as spinal stenosis and radiculopathy. Treatment usually begins with conservative methods that help manage pain. If you’re considered high-risk, the doctor may recommend minimally-invasive spine surgery.
Orthopedic Surgeon in Central Maryland
When nonsurgical treatment methods fail to improve your quality of life, the orthopedic surgeons at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland can perform the most advanced spine surgeries to improve your situation and get you back to the life you love. We provide superior neck and back care to patients experiencing pain and other uncomfortable symptoms usually associated with degenerative conditions. You will receive comprehensive treatment that includes physical therapy in our Ellicott City or Jessup office as part of our rehabilitation services.
To schedule a consultation with an expert orthopedic surgeon, call our clinic at (410) 644-1880 or request an appointment online now. Our friendly staff looks forward to your call!