What Is Disc Degeneration?

Disc degeneration is often a symptom of an age-related spine condition known as degenerative disc disease. Spinal discs are the cushiony, shock-absorbing structures between vertebrae, providing flexibility for the spine. With age, our spinal discs naturally begin to wear down, losing flexibility and the ability to properly absorb shock. This wearing down and subsequent issues are known as disc degeneration, which can trigger discomfort and pain, and potentially other painful conditions, such as bone spurs and herniated discs.

How do I know if I have Disc Degeneration?

Disc degeneration can be the culprit for more than just back pain, but also neck, leg, and arm pain. Ranging from mild to severe, pain associated with disc degeneration typically worsens with movement. Depending on the location of the disc degeneration in the spinal column, pain sufferers can also experience limited mobility of the spine or even weakness, numbness, or tingling of the legs.

Despite being an age-related condition, disc degeneration commonly affects people under the age of 60. Other contributing factors can include family history of disc degeneration, smoking, poor posture, excess weight, or unattended injury. Patients suffering symptoms along with one or more of the contributing factors should consult with Dr. Bruggeman to see if their pain could be caused by disc degeneration and find the right course of treatment.

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What’s the right treatment for me?

If you think you may be experiencing pain triggered by disc degeneration, discussing your symptoms will allow for a comprehensive evaluation by Dr. Bruggeman, leading to a proper diagnosis and recommended path to pain relief for your unique condition. Patients can often find temporary relief with conservative pain management measures, such as physical therapy, medications, or injection therapy, but if these measures are unable to produce long-lasting relief, surgical options such as spinal fusion or disc replacement surgery may offer a more long-term solution.

Disc degeneration can be a component of several spine conditions, such as degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, or bone spurs, so diagnosis with X-rays and MRI scans by Dr. Bruggeman can offer a more complete picture to the root cause of your pain and the right minimally invasive procedure to provide a lasting relief.

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Take the first step toward a pain-free life. Use our online pain evaluation tool to determine what treatment may be right for you.