The spinal structure consists of vertebral bones separated by discs to act as shock absorbers and prevent bone-to-bone contact. When the discs in the spine begin to deteriorate, the complex structure of the spine is weakened and other joints or nerves may be affected. Your doctor at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine will provide both conservative and surgical treatment options to help treat degenerative disc disease.
A majority of patients experience significant pain relief following the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
The disc in the spine consists of an outer wall of tissue that acts as a shock absorber and a jelly-like center, or nucleus, which allows for the twisting and bending of the spine. Over time, the outer cartilage in the disc may begin to tear or weaken, resulting in a collapse of the disc and the two vertebrae would be functioning without a cushion to prevent bone-to-bone rubbing. Without a stable disc, the spine becomes misaligned and, if left untreated, may result in deformities in the surrounding joints. Other potential spinal conditions include spinal stenosis, herniated disc, or bone overgrowth between joints.
Due to the variety of conditions that are caused by degenerative disc disease, the symptoms can be different depending on the patient’s medical history. Symptoms of degenerative disc disease include:
- Numbness of the limbs
- Lower back pain
- Pain when twisting or bending
- Tingling sensation in the arms or legs
- Difficulty sitting down