Degenerative disc disease is a degenerative disorder that can cause extreme and chronic back pain as well as limited mobility and stiffness. At the Spine Center of Southeast Georgia, we offer multi-disciplinary pain treatments to give men and women relief from pain in Brunswick and Kingsland, GA.
What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease is actually a condition in which the spinal discs in the back lose integrity. In a healthy spinal column, the discs between the vertebrae act as shock absorbers, providing height and allowing for bending, twisting, and flexing. As a result of normal aging, these rubber-like discs start to shrink and lose their ability to function.
The vast majority of people will experience some kind of wear on their spinal discs as a natural result of the aging process. MRI studies have shown that virtually all people over the age of 60 have some disc degeneration, although not everyone experiences pain from this wear.
With some people with degenerative disc disease, the discs may collapse and cause the facet joints in the vertebrae to grind against each other. This causes the back stiffness and chronic pain of osteoarthritis (OA).
What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease?
There are several factors that may cause or contribute to disc degeneration. Aging is the most common cause of this condition, but additional factors include:
- As a result of normal aging, the spinal discs will dry out. This means they can’t absorb shock as well as they used to.
- Injuries can cause instability and swelling of the discs that contributes to pain and degeneration.
- Daily activities and sports can result in tears in the outer material of the spinal disc.
Spinal discs do not have a good blood supply like most tissue in the body. When a disc is injured, it can’t repair itself. It will begin to degenerate over time.
What Are the Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease?
Patients suffering from degenerative disc disease will most commonly find symptoms are concentrated to either the lower back or neck, depending on the location of the disc or discs that are breaking down. Common symptoms of degenerated disc disease include:
- Pain that affects the lower back, buttocks, and thighs
- Neck pain radiating to the arms
- Pain ranging from mildly annoying to disabling
- Pain that worsens with sitting, lifting, twisting, and bending but improves a bit while moving, walking, or lying down
- Episodes in which pain becomes very extreme that may last days or months
- Foot drop or leg weakness which may be a symptom of nerve damage
- Tingling or numbness of the legs and/or arms
How is Degenerative Disc Disease Treated in Brunswick, GA?
At the Spine Center of Southeast Georgia, we offer comprehensive and effective treatment solutions that can deliver long-term pain relief from degenerative disc disease:
- Stem Cell Therapy
- Stem cell treatment is designed to not only relieve pain, but also restore function and shape to the damaged discs by helping the damaged tissue self-renew with your adult stem cells harvested from your hip.
- This diagnostic tool helps your physician determine the precise discs that are causing your pain by injecting dye into the center of several discs to recreate back pain and reveal damage.
- This minimally invasive procedure breaks up adhesions or scar tissue that compresses nerves. Research shows this procedure can help improve symptoms of spinal stenosis caused by degenerative disc disease.
- Epidural Steroid Injections
- Injections of local anesthetic and steroids can offer significant relief from the symptoms of degenerative disc disease. The location of the injections will be based on which discs are causing pain.
- Lumbar Fusion
- The Spine Center of Southeast Georgia offers minimally invasive lumbar fusion for degenerative disc disease that does not respond to other treatment options.
You don’t need to live with the pain and limited mobility that can come with degenerative disc disease. Contact the Spine Center of Southeast Georgia to request a consultation and learn more about how we help women and men in Kingsland and Brunswick, GA with tailored treatment plans.