The definition of Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease refers to the worn out discs of the spine. Another form of a degenerative disc disease is called degenerative spondylosis.

Description of Degenerative Disc Disease
The common places of degenerative disc disease are the lower back (lumbar) and the cervical spine. Thoracic degenerative disc disease is rarer. As we get older the water content in the vertebral discs is reduced and the space between the discs narrows. Degenerative disc disease may start in people as early as 20 years of age! The changes in the spine show up in x-rays and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).


What causes Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerating disc disease is the natural course of aging. Other causes can be a trauma like a car accident or an infection.
What are the symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease?
The degeneration of the spine can produce pain, stiffness and restricted movements. If the person suffers from a herniation or rupture, the nerve root is affected and leg, groin and knee pain may follow.
Known symptoms of degenerative disc disease contain:
+In the seated position the load on the lumbosacral discs is 3 times higher than standing causing increased back pain.
+ Bending, twisting, lifting and certain movements worsen back pain.
+ Walking can alleviate back pain especially after prolonged sitting
+ Lying down usually relieves stress on the disc space


What are the types of pain from Degenerative Disc Disease?
The majorities of individuals with degenerative disc disease suffer from chronic lower back pain and get severe lower back pain from time to time. These painful attacks can last from a few days to a few months before the person returns to the level of chronic back pain. Additional problems from degenerative disc disease may be leg pain, groin pain and knee pain. Besides a "pinched nerve" which can be responsible for leg pain, numbness and tingling, the worn out structure of the back in older persons spread out pain to the lower extremities but does not reach below the knees. A weakness in the legs can be an indicator of a nerve root injury.

Who is a good candidate for degenerative disc disease surgery?
Spine fusion -a solid bone connection between 2 or more adjacent vertebrae- is the classical treatment option for a degenerative disc disease. Nevertheless, latest developments in lumbar disc replacements have revealed outcomes equivalent to spine fusion. Only a certain percentage of patients with degenerative disc disease (DDD) are good candidates for a disc replacement surgery. The physician or orthopedic surgeon has to study the patient's history, if he suffered with spinal infections, multilevel disc disease, posterior spinal arthritis, a lateral curvature of the spine (scoliosis) or an abnormal backward curvature of the spine resulting in a hump (kyphosis).

What treatment should be considered for Degenerative Disc Disease?
The first management to combat degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a non-surgical approach. A suitable treatment program can improve the degeneration process of the spine depending of age, sensitivity to medication and physical fitness.
The treatment of degenerative disc disease includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) as well as exercise programs. Exercise programs are crucial to strengthen the spinal and abdominal musculature and reduce the abnormal forward curvature of the spine (lordosis).
When all common treatments of degenerative disc disease failed, one treatment can be an option: Surgery!
Read more about the danger of a back surgery.

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