Degenerative Disc Disease is a term that refers to pain and other symptoms caused by the degeneration of one or more of the intervertebral discs of the spine. Because degenerative disc disease can be caused by several conditions, an appropriate diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment.
How Degenerative Disc Disease is Diagnosed
Our Spine Specialists conduct a thorough history and gather important information regarding the type, frequency, and longevity of symptoms.
We then perform a physical and neurological exam to check for symptoms and analyze anatomy, strength, and function.
Medical imaging tests are ordered based on exam finding and can include an X-Ray, MRI, CT scan or bone scan.
Patients who have degenerative disc disease typically have an underlying cause of their symptoms. Common causes include the following:
- Osteoarthritis. Inflammation of bone and cartilage.
- Spinal stenosis. Pinching of the spinal cord or nerve roots caused by narrowing of the spinal canal.
- Herniated disc. Protrusion of an intervertebral disc into the spinal canal.
- Spondylosis. The thinning of the intervertebral disc.
Once the cause of degenerative disc disease is identified a treatment plan can be prescribed.
Treating Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease treatment options are categorized as nonsurgical and minimally invasive. The majority of cases of degenerative disc disease can be treated using nonsurgical options, including the following:
- Rest, ice, bracing, activity modification
- Anti-inflammatory medications (over-the-counter or prescription)
- Physical therapy
If symptoms have not subsided with non-surgical treatment, or the cause of degenerative disc disease has severely progressed, Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery may be discussed. Advancements in minimally invasive procedures have led to patients receiving excellent results with minimal downtime. Patients who have minimally invasive procedures recovery exponentially faster than those who undergo traditional spine surgery procedures.
At New Jersey Spinal Medicine and Surgery, we are experts in minimally invasive procedures and have helped thousands of patients return to a pain-free life.
Contacting a Spine Specialist
If you are experiencing spine pain, the best thing you can do is make an appointment with one of our Spine Specialists. An accurate diagnosis will be made and a treatment plan designed to improve your symptoms with minimal downtime. Our specialists have provided countless patients with a solution to degenerative disc disease and many other spine problems.