What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative Disc Disease is a condition primarily associated with the natural aging process but can be caused by accident or injury. The spinal discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae, tend to wear down and lose their flexibility over time. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including back pain, neck pain, and even radiating pain into the arms or legs.

man having back examined by a doctor

What are the symptoms of degenerative disc disease?

At Premier Orthopaedic Associates, the team of experts recognizes that DDD is not a one-size-fits-all condition. The severity of the disease can vary from one person to another, and therefore, a personalized approach to treatment is essential. Symptoms include:

  • Chronic back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Radiating pain
  • Worsening pain with movement
  • Stiffness

Diagnosing Degenerative Disc Disease

Diagnosing Degenerative Disc Disease typically involves a comprehensive evaluation with one of our orthopedic specialists. The diagnostic process begins with a thorough medical history review and a discussion of the patient's symptoms. A physical examination is performed to assess range of motion, reflexes, and signs of nerve compression. Imaging studies, such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scans, are often used to visualize the spine's condition and identify any disc abnormalities, including disc height loss, herniation, or degeneration. These diagnostic tools aid in confirming the presence of DDD and determining its severity, guiding healthcare professionals in tailoring a suitable treatment plan for the individual's specific needs.

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Non-Surgical Treatments Degenerative Disc Disease 

At Premier Orthopaedic Associates, we offer a comprehensive range of treatments and therapies for Degenerative Disc Disease tailored to the unique needs of the patient. Non-surgical treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease encompass a range of approaches aimed at managing pain and improving function. These may include physical therapy to strengthen supporting muscles and improve posture, medications such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, lifestyle modifications like weight management and ergonomic adjustments, and chiropractic care to address spinal alignment. In many cases, non-surgical methods effectively alleviate pain and enhance the quality of life for individuals with DDD, often being the initial course of action before considering surgical options. Individualized treatment plans are tailored to the severity and unique needs of each patient.

graphic of upper spine

Surgical treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease

Surgical options for Degenerative Disc Disease primarily encompass spinal fusion and disc replacement. 

Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion is a surgical intervention for Degenerative Disc Disease involving the fusion of adjacent vertebrae to stabilize the spine and alleviate pain. During the procedure, the damaged disc is removed and replaced with bone graft material, promoting the fusion of vertebral segments to reduce motion and discomfort. This surgical option is chosen when DDD leads to instability and pain that doesn't respond to non-surgical treatments.

Disc Replacement

Disc replacement, a surgical solution for Degenerative Disc Disease, involves replacing the affected spinal disc with an artificial one, preserving natural mobility and function. It's a motion-preserving alternative to spinal fusion, offering reduced postoperative recovery times and a potential return to an active lifestyle for individuals with DDD who desire continued spinal flexibility.

Why choose us for Degenerative Disc Disease treatment?

At Premier Orthopaedic Associates, we pride ourselves on providing cutting-edge diagnostics and state-of-the-art treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease. Our board-certified specialists are committed to enhancing your quality of life by eliminating pain. With a collaborative approach, our dedicated healthcare professionals create individualized treatment strategies to address and alleviate the challenges posed by degenerative disc disease.

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