One of the most common causes of low back and neck pain stems from degenerative disc disease. This condition is caused by wear and tear on the spinal discs in your back. It typically develops into a low-level chronic pain, which can increase to include sporadic periods of intense pains. It can also cause numbness, shooting pains, and weakness in your arms or legs as well.
Who Gets Degenerative Disc Disease?
Anyone can develop degenerative disc disease. Most doctors believe there are three contributing factors that increase the likelihood of developing this back pain condition.
- At birth, spinal discs are roughly 80% water. As we age, however, this number decreases. When spinal discs dry out, they no longer absorb shocks as well as they once did. Because spinal discs create a cushion between each vertebrae, the drying out process can lead to pain.
- Daily activities, such as lifting and turning, as well as sports, can increase the wear and tear on spinal discs. In fact, these activities can cause tearing in the outer core of each disc, leading to an increased likelihood of developing degenerative disc disease.
- Injuries can also contribute to degenerative disc disease. These include injuries that cause instability, soreness or swelling around the spine.
It is important to note, however, that not everyone will develop degenerative disc disease, regardless of activities and injuries. It is also not the sole cause of back pains and should only be diagnosed once other potential illnesses have been ruled out.
Will I Need Back Pain Surgery?
Not all patients who experience degenerative disc disease need surgery. However, in severe cases, or when spinal fractures occur, back pain surgery is recommended. Before surgery, however, most doctors will begin treatment with one or a combination of medicine, physical therapy and steroid shots.
Manhattan’s Top Spine Surgeon
No one should have to live with chronic pain. Dr. Paul M. Brisson, MD understands that each patient is a unique case. As an experience orthopedic spinal surgeon, Dr. Brisson works with you, your referring doctor and special diagnostic testing to develop the best approach to your personal back pain treatment. Starting with the least invasive methods, such as stretching, exercises, and physical therapy – Dr. Brisson tailors your treatment to specifically target your pain. From the initial visit and throughout your treatment, Dr. Brisson will walk you through each step to ensure you understand the details.