Degenerative disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease occurs when the spinal discs wear down. Spinal discs are rubbery cushions located between the vertebrae that act as shock absorbers and support movement, bending, and twisting. Everyone experiences some spinal disc degeneration over time and it’s a normal part of aging.
When the discs wear away, the bones can start to rub together, causing pain and other conditions, such as:
- Adult scoliosis. Characterized by a curvature of the spine.
- Herniated disc. Refers to a bulged, slipped, or ruptured disc.
- Spinal stenosis. Refers to a narrowing of the spaces around the spine.
- Spondylolisthesis. Occurs when vertebrae move in and out of place.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
The most common symptoms of degenerative disc disease are pain in the neck and back. Individuals may experience pain that:
Worsens with sitting, bending, or lifting
Radiates down the buttocks and lower back
Leads to numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
Comes and goes, lasting for weeks or months at a time
Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease
Pain from degenerative disc disease may occur if the spinal discs:
- Dry out. The core of the disc loses moisture, causing the discs to thin and struggle to provide adequate shock absorption.
- Tear or crack. Minor injuries can cause tears near nerves, or cracks that may cause a herniated disc, leading to spinal compression.
Risk Factors for Degenerative Disc Disease
Older adults are more likely to develop degenerative disc disease. Risk factors for developing degenerative disc disease include:
- Being female
- Acute injuries, such as falling
- Working a physically demanding job
At Premier Urgent Care, patients diagnosed with degenerative disc disease may be treated with joint and soft tissue injections and pain management techniques.
A few types of joint and soft tissue injections offered at the clinic include nerve blocks, sacroiliac joint injections, epidural injections, piriformis injections, and trigger point injections. Patients should speak to their physician to determine if they may benefit from joint and soft tissue injections.
Pain management techniques can also help patients minimize pain
caused by degenerative disc disease through cold and heat therapy, gentle exercise, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, cognitive behavior therapy, yoga, deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback, music therapy, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Patients will receive a customized pain management plan to treat their type of pain.
Some patients may require advanced treatment that may include chiropractic adjustment, physical therapy, and even surgery. Premier Urgent Care supports patients needing a range of treatments for degenerative disc disease. Staff is available to answer any questions about obtaining advanced treatment.
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