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Degenerative Disc Disorder

Degenerative Disc TreatmentDegenerative Disc Disorder › Facts about Degenerative Disc Disorder

Facts about Degenerative Disc Disorder

Degeneration of the intervertebral discs is part of the natural process of ageing. Degeneration of the discs however, may result in a painful condition known as degenerative disc disorder which results when the nerves are compressed due to the narrowing of the space between the vertebrae.

Pathology of Degenerative Disc Disorder

The intervertebral discs are fluid filled sacs that act as shock absorbers within the spinal column. They contain a jelly like fluid. This fluid consists of 80% water (at birth), several proteins and collagen. As we age the percentage of water in the discs is reduced. The loss of water in the discs results in structural changes in the proteins and collagen. This results in the loss of the spongy properties of the discs and the discs become rigid instead. The discs flatten out and the space between the vertebrae is reduced.

Causes of Degenerative Disc Disorder

Degenerative disc disorder is associated with genetic predisposition. Most cases of degenerative disc disease occur as a result of aging and age related conditions such as arthritis and osteoarthritis. However, the condition may also occur as a result of trauma or an injury to the spinal column.

Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disorder

Back pain is the most common symptom of the condition. The pain is usually worse when sitting compared to standing and is worse still when bending, twisting or lifting heavy objects. The pain experienced by those suffering from this condition is severe and may occur intermittently. Some people experience numbness, weakness or a tingling sensation in the legs or arms depending on the location of the damaged disc.

Degenerative Disc Disorder Diagnosis

Information of the medical history of the patient is usually required in the diagnosis of degenerative disc disorder. A full physical examination is carried out and an MRI included in this exam to locate the damaged discs.

Degenerative Disc Treatments

Degenerative disc disorder is not reversible. However, the symptoms of the disease are manageable through pain medication, physical therapy, exercises and epidural injections. Surgical procedures to remove the damaged discs are only recommended as a last resort.

Facts about Degenerative Disc Disorder
Information center about Degenerative Disc Disorder
Article published February 25th, 2011
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