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Degenerative Disc Disease

Symptoms

Disc degeneration is associated with pain in the back or neck. Pain may also be present in the arms or legs. However, not all degenerated discs cause pain.

Description

As we age, discs in the spine dehydrate. This is not always a painful condition. However, disc degeneration may follow injury to a disc. This condition may be more likely to be painful.

Treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease

Typically, the first line of treatment includes active physical therapy and education. Strengthening of the muscles in the trunk and around the spine may help to reduce pain. Medication may be prescribed. If an unacceptable level of pain persists for several months after other treatments, surgical options may be considered. There are several minimally invasive procedures that are most frequently used for early stages of degenerative disc disease. Various interbody fusion procedures may be used in which disc tissue is removed and replaced with bone to stabilize the painful spinal segment. Total disc replacement or artificial discs may be used as well. The disc tissue is removed and a mobile disc prosthesis is put into the disc space.

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