Degenerative Disc Disease

The spinal column is composed of a series of bones (vertebrae) separated by structures called intervertebral discs. The discs have three primary functions: first, they act as shock absorbers; second, they act as strong ligaments to hold the bones together; and third, they act as joints allowing mobility of the spine. The discs are composed of two parts – a tough outer portion and a soft inner core (imagine a jelly doughnut).

As you grow older, the discs begin to break down due to the outer layer developing tears and/or the inner core drying out. This happens to everyone’s discs and is a normal part of the aging process. In some people, however, this condition causes back pain which we refer to as degenerative disc disease. It is not entirely understood why some people with disc degeneration develop pain and others do not. While the pain is usually focused in the low back or neck, it can occasionally spread into the legs (sciatica) or arms, respectively. Diagnosis and effective treatment, therefore, depend on understanding the patient’s pain experience, not simply on the presence of disc degeneration on an MRI. Treating degenerative disc disease can be challenging. Thankfully, there are numerous options available, including medications, physical therapy and targeted treatments, such as epidural injection.

Comprehensive Pain Management

We work with patients to develop individually tailored treatment plans.

Contact Lakeshore Pain & Spine Center today to schedule a consultation, so we can help you live a better life.