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Degenerative Disc Disease Overview


Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is commonly mistaken for a disease due to its name. However, DDD is actually the natural, decomposing effects of aging. Our bodies endure a substantial amount of stress throughout a lifetime, and the spine is literally the backbone of our bodies’ upright and mechanical positioning and movement. The spine allows us to twist, bend, arch, and lean, while allowing our bodies to retain its skeletal form. The discs in the spine, in between each vertebra, act as shocks for those vertebrae, relieving the stress and blunt force that they would otherwise endure. However, just like shocks in an automobile, these discs become worn out over time due to strenuous and frequent use.

What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease?

As we age, the cartilage protecting our spinal discs deteriorates, allowing the discs to bulge or protrude. Due to the shape and curvature of our spine, this usually occurs in the upper and lower back. These parts of the spine are the focal points of pressure and strenuous activity. The actual corrosion of the cartilage is called Osteoarthritis, and the most common result of this is a herniated disc. Both of these issues, along with other related effects, greatly increase nerve damage and spinal pain.

What are the Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease?

Pain tolerance and awareness differs greatly between different people. While some people with DDD experience a great amount pain in certain areas of their back and neck, others might feel no pain at all. These pains are typically more noticed with movement of the back, such as twisting, reaching, arching, or bending over. Because of the structure and functionality of nerves, sharp pain can sometimes be felt outside of the general area of the affected disc, such as in the arms and legs, usually depending on upper or lower disc damage.

How is Degenerative Disc Disease Diagnosed?

The diagnosis process is detailed and thorough, as it is extremely important to uproot the cause of any pain in the spine to determine the underlying issue and recommend the correct treatments. A physician will discuss with a patient any previous injuries, damage, or pain to the neck and spine. After neurostimulation, the physician can then make an educated decision on what treatments should initially take place to relieve any pain.

How is Degenerative Disc Disease Treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for DDD, but there are many different treatments patients can undergo to help with the symptoms of DDD, such as neck and back pain and nerve damage. Therapeutic, non-invasive treatment is primarily recommended to relieve neck and back pain in most cases. However, if the pain is too great or the damage to a disc is too severe, minimally invasive surgery could be recommended by a physician as a solution to further ease the pain.

There are two different kinds of non-invasive treatments for lower back pain: passive and active. Passive treatments consist of pain medication, such as muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory medicine, and oral steroids. More passive treatments include neurostimulation, ultra sound to enhance blood flow, therapeutic massages to relax muscles, and anti-inflammatory injections to reduce swelling.

Active treatments are more of a self-help, health focus. These include exercising, such as lifting light weights for muscle memory and retention, weight loss to provide relief from certain pressure points on the spine, and quitting smoking to increase blood to ensure faster healing.

Why Choose Become Pain Free?

From chiropractors to pain management specialists to expert spine surgeons, Become Pain Free can help get rid of your pain so you can get your life back on track. To learn more about how we can help, fill out the form on the right or call 888-373-3720. We'll connect you with the right specialist so you can stop living in pain.Call Become Pain Free... your pain solution.

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Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Failed back surgery syndrome, commonly referred to as FBSS, occurs when a patient does not have a successful experience with spinal surgery intended to ease pain in the back, neck, hips, or legs. About 40 percent of people who go through open back surgery experience symptoms of failed back surgery. If you are one of those people, keep reading. You are not out of options. Causes of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome There can be many reasons why back surgery fails to ease pain or actually causes pain to get worse. Sometimes the original problem was incorrectly diagnosed, leading to unnecessary surgery or surgery in the wrong place on the spine. Other times, the surgeon misses a fragment of disc or bone which is left still putting pressure on the nerve. FBSS is certainly not always the fault of the doctor who performs the operation. Sometimes a patient develops a new spinal condition following surgery. Scar tissue from the original surgery can also lead to increased pain, as can damage to the nerves. Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome Because there can be so many causes of FBSS, the symptoms can vary broadly as well. Some people find that their pain is reduced somewhat but not enough to make a meaningful difference in their quality of life. Other people say that their pain is not reduced but is actually worse after the failed surgery. Finally, some people do well for the first three to six months after surgery and then start to develop pain again. This is often caused by a new injury or by the formation of scar tissue. The site of the pain can vary as well. It may be located in the spine. Other people report pain in the neck or hips or shooting pain to the extremities. People with FBSS also frequently experience emotional pain such as frustration, depression, or anxiety. Treatments for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome Depending on the causes and symptoms of FBSS, there are many treatments available. They range from additional surgery to careful use of pain medications to exercise to electrical devices that reduce the transmission of pain signals. Here at Become Pain Free, we recognize that one treatment will not fit every patient. We will examine you carefully, run any necessary tests, and develop and individualized plan of care designed to ease your pain. Don't put off calling us. The longer pain is allowed to go untreated, the harder it is to control. Become Pain Free offers a diverse and comprehensive network of physicians whose sole purpose is to effectively treat your pain. If you are experiencing FBSS, don't suffer another minute. Call us today for an appointment. You can reach us at 214-396-3647 or at 888-373-3720. Pain does not have to control your life. We can help you control the pain.

Note: The information on this Web site is provided as general health guidelines and may not be applicable to your particular health condition. Your individual health status and any required medical treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider of your choice. Remember: There is no adequate substitution for a personal consultation with your physician. Neither BPF Specialty Hospital, or any of their affiliates, nor any contributors shall have any liability for the content or any errors or omissions in the information provided by this Web site.