Degenerative disc disease. Doesn’t the name alone sound scary? If you’ve been told you may have this condition, then try not to panic. Degenerative dis disease is an extremely common cause of back and neck pain. It’s also one of the most widely misunderstood conditions, mainly from the name. Here’s a little information you should know about degenerative disc disease.
So, what is it? In the simplest terms, degenerative disc disease is pain, weakness or numbness in the back or neck. It stems from a degenerative spinal disc. Although this sounds simple, you care about your health, and I’m sure you want to know what this could mean for you. Will it restrict your normal activities, or permanently cripple you? Perhaps you’re worried about the pain getting worse as you age. Will you have to go in for surgery?
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I’m sure the word that really leaps out at you here is “degenerative”. Fortunately, this is something of a misnomer. Degenerative disc disease is not necessarily degenerative and not actually a disease. Most people think “degenerative” means that the condition will get progressively worse with time. If you develop degenerative disc disease, the condition of your spinal disc will degenerate. However, the symptoms won’t get any worse. Yes, the spinal disc will become less and less functional over time. However, the pain of the condition won’t get any worse than it is in the first instance. In fact, the pain will usually ease over time.
Far from being a serious abnormality, the degeneration of spinal discs is in fact a natural part of the body aging. Given enough time, everyone will show changes in the condition of their discs. The severity of this varies depending on more severe or minute levels of degeneration. Some people, although they feel completely fine, will still be going through disc degeneration. Degenerative disc disease has been known to vary greatly in its severity and obviousness.
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Before you go out looking for degenerative disc disease treatment, I strongly suggest seeking out a few opinions. Usually, a simple check-up would suffice. However, leading medical professionals disagree on what a diagnosis constitutes. There’s also a lot of dispute over when a degenerative disc is or isn’t the source of a patient’s pain. Even textbooks used by medical students don’t contain an accurate definition due to so much disagreement. The large majority of practitioners will tell you that degenerative disc disease is a common cause of neck and back pain. However, not a lot of them will agree on what the implications are! You should know that degenerative disc disease can lead to conditions like spinal stenosis, which is far more serious. To find out where you stand straight away, make sure you don’t lead on the opinion of a single doctor.
Perhaps you’ve been diagnosed with degenerative spine disease, or you think you may have some of the symptoms. Whatever the case, I hope this information has helped. True, the condition may be painful and frustrating. However, effective treatments are widely available.