4 Things We Want You to Know About Degenerative Disc Disease

It would be hard to overstate the importance of your spine. This structure is ground zero for your entire musculoskeletal system, and its health can have no small impact on your life.

Unfortunately, your spine is also ground zero for a host of issues that can leave you with nagging back or neck pain. The lifetime prevalence of back pain in adults is as high as 84%. And as anyone who’s been through back pain can attest, it’s one health issue that’s almost impossible to ignore.

Here at Pain Medicine Consultants, we’re no strangers to back pain, and we’ve helped scores of patients find much-needed relief. 

As part of our efforts, members of our experienced team of intervention pain specialists believe that education is important, which is why we’re focusing on a big driver of back pain — degenerative disc disease (DDD).

Here are a few things that we want you to know about this surprisingly common condition.

Degenerative disc disease is a part of aging

We referred to degenerative disc disease as common, and we’re going to back that up with some eye-opening numbers.  By the age of 35, about 30% of people will have some degree of degeneration in their discs. By 60, this number jumps to about 90%.

The 23 discs that separate the vertebrae in your spine are made up of a tough fibrous outer layer that houses a jellylike substance on the inside and provides the cushioning and support your spine relies on. 

Over time, these discs can lose moisture and become more brittle and flat due to natural wear-and-tear, which is why the condition is so closely linked to your age. This typically occurs in the areas of your spine that enjoy the most range of motion — your neck and your lower back.

Degenerative disc disease can lead to complications

As you might imagine, if the discs that provide critical support to your spine start to break down, problems aren’t far behind. While most people have some degree of DDD as they get older, the good news is that not everyone develops symptoms.

Unfortunately, just as many do end up with complications, such as:

It’s little wonder that back issues are the leading cause of disability around the world given this long list of potential complications from just one spine condition.

You can prevent (or slow) degenerative disc disease

We want to emphasize that even though DDD is prevalent as you age, how much it affects your life is under your control, to some extent. There are steps that you can take to prevent, or at least slow, the degeneration in the discs in your spine, such as:

These prevention tips are good health care practices all the way around and can support your wellness in many different ways.

There are treatments for degenerative disc disease

If this condition is already causing painful or uncomfortable symptoms, we can certainly help to restore pain-free movement. We have many different tools to combat back and neck pain, including:

As you can see, we offer a wide range of solutions that can help to alleviate DDD symptoms.

To figure out which approach is right for your degenerative disc disease, or if you have more questions about this common condition, please don’t hesitate to contact us at one of our offices in Pleasant Hill, Corte Madera, or Pleasanton, California, to set up an appointment.

You Might Also Enjoy...