Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a condition that develops when discs in the neck or back begin to deteriorate. This can occur with age or following an injury. Once damaged, discs in the back are unable to repair themselves like other tissues in the body do because there is not sufficient blood supply to the discs. Other body tissues are able to self-repair because there is greater blood supply to those areas.

Degenerative disc disease is commonly associated with pain and discomfort in the neck or lower back area where the damaged discs are located. If left untreated, the pain can worsen over time. With the help of an experienced neurosurgeon, like Dr. J. Kevin Kaufman in Fort Worth, TX, you can achieve relief from the pain and discomfort of degenerative disc disease.

Symptoms

There is a variety of symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, that can be an indication of having the disease. Degenerative disc disease symptoms include:

  • Pain in the lower back, buttocks or thighs
  • Pain that is aggravated when sitting down
  • Pain that increases when performing movements such as twisting or bending
  • Neck pain that extends to the arms and hands
  • Tingling sensations or numbness in the hands and feet
  • Problems with “foot drop” or weakened leg muscles
  • Extreme pain that comes and goes for days or weeks at a time

Treatment

Exercise is one way to decrease the severity of neck and back pain associated with degenerative disc disease. The reason exercise is beneficial is that it promotes the flow of blood to the back. In other words, it gets the blood pumping. This increased blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients to the back muscles, helping to strengthen them and improve flexibility. The additional blood flow also removes waste products associated with painful inflammation.

Participating in physical therapy with trained professionals is the best way to improve back pain through exercise. Other treatment options include medications, heat and cold therapy, spinal mobilization or surgery. Surgical procedures to improve degenerative disc disease include spinal fusion and artificial disc replacement. These procedures should be performed by an experienced neurosurgeon, such as Dr. Kaufman.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described as possible indicators of degenerative disc disease, you might benefit from surgery, physical therapy or another treatment option. Speak to a qualified neurosurgeon, such as Dr. Kaufman, about your symptoms and possible treatment options.

For more information about degenerative disc disease,
call our Fort Worth, TX office at (817) 377-0143!