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Conditions We Treat

Degenerative Disc Disease

Joint degeneration is a common problem in the lower back and neck. It is most common in people who smoke, are obese, or perform work that requires repeated bending of the back. In some cases, traumatic injuries such as falls or auto accidents can cause degeneration.

Keep reading to find out about the treatment options available for degenerative disc disease.

Senior woman having back pain

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is one of the most common causes of back pain and neck ache. The condition usually starts with a disc bulge or a bulging disc, which occurs when the gel-filled central portion (the nucleus pulposus) of a disc begins to bulge.

This condition is often accompanied by pain radiating from the spine and may impair normal muscle function, including the ability to walk. Degenerative disc disease is caused by the discs in the spine becoming compressed. They do not absorb shocks to the spine, and the spine cannot flex and twist as it should, causing pain.

What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease?

As we age, our discs begin to lose their ability to cushion and support the spine and replace it with a more rigid and compressed support. This also includes:

  • Loss of fluid in the central gel-like portion of the disc, resulting in discs that are less flexible and thinner or more compressed.
  • Tears in the innermost layer of the disc that allows the gel-like substance in the center of the disc to leak out.

As a result of these changes, pressure is placed on the spine itself, causing pain in the spinal cord and sometimes radiating into areas served by nerves that are lying outside of the spinal cord itself.

What Are the Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease?

The symptoms of degenerative disc disease can vary widely, but typically include pain in the back, neck, and buttocks – but it can sometimes also radiate into extremities.

What Are My Treatment Options for Degenerative Disc Disease?

Ice packs and over-the-counter pain relievers are a good initial treatment for minor muscle aches and pains.

If the pain worsens, your doctor can prescribe stronger painkillers to help ease the symptoms. Sometimes, imaging studies are recommended for people who have symptoms of bone or spinal problems, as well as injured patients. In some cases, such as when nerve damage is suspected or a family history of bone disease or spinal tumors, such imaging is ordered for a more in-depth evaluation.

overworked woman with back pain in office

What Are My Treatment Options for Degenerative Disc Disease?

Ice packs and over-the-counter pain relievers are a good initial treatment for minor muscle aches and pains.

If the pain worsens, your doctor can prescribe stronger painkillers to help ease the symptoms. Sometimes, imaging studies are recommended for people who have symptoms of bone or spinal problems, as well as injured patients. In some cases, such as when nerve damage is suspected or a family history of bone disease or spinal tumors, such imaging is ordered for a more in-depth evaluation.

overworked woman with back pain in office

Frequently Asked Questions About Degenerative Disc Disease

1. How do you diagnose degenerative disc disease?
During the exam, Dr. Callewart will perform a range of motion test to check for any problems with your back or neck. He will also ask you about symptoms like numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arms and legs. Dr. Callewart will also test your reflexes to make sure that everything is functioning properly.

Sometimes, imaging studies are recommended for people who have symptoms of bone or spinal problems, as well as injured patients. In some cases, such as when nerve damage is suspected or a family history of bone disease or spinal tumors, such imaging is ordered for a more in-depth evaluation.

Are you in pain?

Most patients experiencing pain can be seen by Dr. Callewart or his physician assistant within 24 hours in Dallas, Forney, Rockwall and Addison, Texas.

Common Conditions We Treat

Arthritis of the Spine

Featured Treatments We Provide