Degenerative Disc Disease and What You Can Do About It
As orthopedic surgeons, here at New Jersey Spine Specialists we see our mission as not only providing the best spinal care to our patients, but also educating the public about spinal problems, how to avoid them and the treatment options available to correct them. One of the subjects we often get questions about is degenerative disc disease. That’s not surprising because degenerative disc disease is one of the most common spinal problems. This condition occurs due to deterioration of the cushioning intervertebral discs between individual vertebrae. This usually happens as a normal part of aging, as the water and protein content of cartilage changes, rendering the discs weaker and more fragile.
Degenerative disc disease can affect any part of the spine, and spinal care specialists refer to the condition by its location. Lumbar degenerative disc disease refers to disc degeneration in the lower back. This is one of the most common causes of lower back pain, which is sometimes referred to as lumbago. Cervical degenerative disc disease refers to degenerative disc disease in the neck. Degeneration of the disc tissue also makes the disc more susceptible to herniation, or rupturing of the disc, which is called a bulging or herniated disc. Symptoms of degenerative disc disease include pain and restricted range of motion.
You can help avoid degenerative disc disease by maintaining a proper weight, getting regular exercise, having a healthy diet, not smoking and by avoiding activities that have a risk of causing back and neck injuries. But what if your spinal discs already exhibit deterioration? In mild cases, specific exercises for degenerative disc disease may be all the treatment that is required. Historically, other treatment options have ranged from the use of medications to surgery in severe cases. Today, minimally invasive alternative treatment options, including lumbar disc replacement, are available. These therapies are revolutionizing spinal care, and informing the public about these advances is another mission of ours here at New Jersey Spinal Specialists. If you have more questions, we invite you to contact us or schedule a consultation with one of our board certified spinal physicians. Conveniently located in Summit and Montclair, New Jersey, our offices are easy to access from local towns like Maplewood, Westfield and Warren, and the surrounding counties like Somerset, Union, Morris, and Essex Counties. We can provide transportation services to and from Liberty International Airport for patients who are visiting us from further destinations.