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Degenerative Disc Disease

Oklahoma Pain Physicians

Pain Management located in Oklahoma City, Norman, & Purcell, OK

As you get older, changes happen in your spine, and the condition of your discs starts to deteriorate. If you’re experiencing the effects of degenerative disc disease, Rafael Justiz, MD, and Alina Justiz, MD, at Oklahoma Pain Physicians provide a range of treatments that can help. If you live in or near Oklahoma City, Purcell, or Norman, Oklahoma, contact the pain management experts for treatment of degenerative disc disease. Call today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment online.

Degenerative Disc Disease Q & A

What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease is a progressive decline in the health of your intervertebral discs. The discs in-between each vertebra in your spine are a spongy material, much like jelly, surrounded by a robust outer shell. The discs absorb any shock going up your spine and protect the bones from friction.

When you’re young, your discs have a high water content, so they’re very springy. As you get older, the water levels start to drop, and cell renewal slows down, so your discs become harder and flatter.

As well as age, there are other risk factors for developing degenerative disc disease, such as:

  • Trauma
  • Injury
  • Repetitive movement
  • Improper posture
  • Poor body mechanics

Disc degeneration can contribute to other back problems like radiculopathy (trapped nerves), sciatica, spinal stenosis, and herniated discs. If your body tries to repair the damage, you might also develop bone spurs (osteophytes) on your vertebrae.

What are the symptoms of degenerative disc disease?

You won’t necessarily experience any symptoms if you have degenerative disc disease, but if you do have symptoms, they could include:

Back pain
Neck pain
Radiating leg pain
Radiating arm pain

The type of pain you have depends on which discs are involved and what nerves are coming under pressure.
Degenerative disc disease causes decreasing flexibility, so you might find you often have backache and a stiff spine. As degenerative disc disease takes time to develop, it usually affects people over 50.

How is degenerative disc disease treated?

When you first receive a diagnosis of degenerative disc disease, initial treatments are likely to be conservative options such as:

  • Rest
  • Physical therapies
  • Pain-killing medication
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Radiofrequency ablation

For most people, these approaches relieve their pain and improve their mobility. However, if you follow a conservative treatment plan, and it’s not having the desired effect, the team at Oklahoma Pain Physicians offers regenerative medicine options and can carry out surgical procedures to treat degenerative disc disease.

There are several approaches to decompression surgery for degenerative disc disease, including:

  • Disc denervation and decompression
  • Minimally invasive lumbar decompression
  • Percutaneous disc decompression

Minimally invasive lumbar decompression (MILD) restores the space in your spinal canal and preserves the stability of your spine without there being a need to make any large incisions.

Find out more about your options for degenerative disc disease treatment by calling Oklahoma Pain Physicians today or request an appointment online.