Spine Conditions – Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a spinal condition characterized by weakening or deterioration of one of the more intervertebral discs in the back. When it comes to the prevalence of this spinal condition, it occurs in 40% of people who are above the age of 40. When a person is above the age of 60, the chances of getting this condition increases by 70%.

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease is a painful condition of the spine, which occurs when the intervertebral disc or discs change. Intervertebral discs act as shock absorbers between your spinal bones or vertebrae.

These discs help keep the spine flexible, which allows you to bend and twist easily. As you age, the discs undergo various wears and tears and cause changes in their structure. As a result, the alteration leads to painful sensations.

What are The Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease?

The intervertebral discs have a unique structure, which includes an outer wall and inner core. The inner core is soft and the outer wall is tough in structure. There are various causes of degenerative disc disease, such as:

Drying out of the discs is one of the primary causes of this spinal condition. Keep in mind that your spinal disc contains water constituent, and with aging, these discs lose water content, which causes them to get thinner and weak.

When the discs become flat, they don’t absorb shocks. The loss of water also indicates less padding and cushioning between your spinal vertebrae. This causes other issues in the spine, which can lead to severe pain.

Day-to-day activities and movements, as well as injuries, can put pressure on your spine. Consequently, there is a chance that your spine will undergo cracking. The small tears in the disc’s outer wall can damage the nerves. Damaged nerves are the main reason you feel pain in your back.

Also, when the walls of your intervertebral discs break down, the soft core of the disc will push through the cracks. As a result, there occurs bulging, slipping out, and herniation of the discs, which can harm the surrounding nerves. It is important to seek degenerative disc disease treatment when you feel pain in your back.

What are The Possible Treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease?

The primary objective of degenerative disc disease treatment is to provide relief from pain and stop more damage to the discs as well as the surrounding nerves. Initially, your health professional will prescribe you conservative treatment, such as medications and physical therapy to overcome the painful sensations.

Most often, the doctor prescribes painkillers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, to help fight inflammation that leads to pain. These over-the-counter drugs can reduce inflammation and ease the pain.

Sometimes, the condition causes muscle spasms, which require the doctor to prescribe you stronger pain easing medications. Physical therapy has also been found useful in treating the condition by strengthening the muscles in your back and neck.

Moreover, some people receive steroid injections to quickly reduce inflammation, swelling, and ease pain. You will get a steroid shot in your spinal epidural space or the nerve or muscle.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally invasive spine surgery, such as spinal fusion, is the best degenerative disc disease treatment option for people with severe back pain. The goal of MIS spinal surgery is to stabilize and immobilize the joint between vertebrae. As a result, you have an improved back function and reduced or no pain.

Here at MINT, our surgeon will perform the interbody fusion surgery procedure, which requires the surgeon to replace the damaged disc with bone graft material or cage, which allows for better spinal alignment. The procedure is useful for restoring the disc height properly.

The surgery leads to the re-alignment of your spine and restoration of the disc height, which enlarges the space through space where the nerves exit. Moreover, the bone graft material or cages contain growth factors, which cause the vertebrae to grow and fuse properly.

Here at MINT, depending on your spinal condition, our surgeon will follow the lateral approach, which involves making the incision from the side. The approach has several benefits over the conventional open back surgery. It is a minimally invasive approach that involves making a small incision in the side, approach the area of concern, remove the disc, and place the bone graft material or cage.

MINT has qualified and experienced surgeons who can perform the surgery as per medical protocols. Degenerative disc disease is a painful condition, and it is best to undergo spinal fusion surgery to relieve pain and stabilize the back.