275 Madison E 40th St.

Contact: 212-986-3888

275 Madison E 40th St.

Contact: 212-986-3888

Certain as death and taxes, degenerative disk disease happens to everyone. However, not everyone who has degenerative changes in their lumbar spine has pain. Many people who have “normal” backs have MRIs that show disc herniations, degenerative changes, and narrowed spinal canals. Yet, every patient is different, and not everyone develops symptoms as a result of degenerative disc disease .

One of the most common causes of back pain and neck pain , and also one of the most misunderstood, degenerative disc disease is not actually a disease — it is part of the normal aging of the spine. In this condition, the discs in the spine — pillow-like pads that separate the interlocking vertebrae that make up the spine and act as shock absorbers –eventually lose their cushioning. The breakdown of the discs can result in back or neck pain, as well as osteoarthritis, herniated disc, or spinal stenosis.

When we are born, each disc is comprised of about 80% water, which gives it its spongy quality and allows it to function as a shock absorber. As we age, the water content decreases and the disc becomes less effective. Additionally, the proteins within the disc also change composition, and most of us will develop tears into the annulus fibrosus (the outer hard core of the disc). Unlike other tissues of the body, there is very little blood supply to the disc, so once a disc is injured, it cannot repair itself, and a spiral of degeneration can set in, known also as Spondylosis.

“Pain from DDD is initially treated with ice or heat and with nonprescription medications,” says medical director Brian Kessler, MD. “Further treatments depend on whether the damaged disc has resulted in other conditions. Physical therapy and exercises are often recommended, and in some cases surgery may be recommended if the pain is severe and disrupts a person’s ability to participate in everyday activities.”

Labels: back pain , degenerative disc disease , Low back pain , neck pain , NYC , spine and sports medicine

Posted by Spine and Sports Medicine on 1:19 AM

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