Spine

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a description of the pain and radiating weakness or numbness caused by a degenerated disc in the spine. Most people think the word degenerative means the symptoms will get worse as they get older. It’s actually the discs that worsen over time. Plus, it isn’t really a disease, but a condition that can cause pain for a damaged disc.

Symptoms

The symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease include:

  • Pain associated with an activity that fluctuates from serious to low, and then maybe even go away.
  • The pain varies from person to person. Some people may have severe pain and other almost none.
  • Severe pain in the back and neck that will last a few days to a few months, then returning to your regular level of pain.

Treatment

Your doctor will focus on pain control; exercise and rehabilitation; lifestyle modifications.

  • A goal for pain management is to reduce pain enough to enable you to do exercises and complete a rehabilitation program. These are best done under the guidance of a trained health professional, such as a physiatrist, physical therapist or chiropractor.
  • For most people, treatment may include medical, alternative and/or self-care approaches. You may need to try each option to see which best works for you.
  • There are surgical options but you will be advised to make a serious effort with nonsurgical treatments before considering surgery.