Like all body systems, the musculoskeletal system deteriorates as we get older. After about age 20, the cushions between your bones starts to wear down, affecting even those found in the spine. This condition is known as disc degeneration. It occurs when the discs found between the vertebrae of your spine degenerate and weaken.
A common symptom of degenerative disc disease is pain. It occurs because the discs that function as shock absorbers have worn down, which may result in instability causing pain. Disk degeneration is a normal process of aging that typically occurs in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th decade of life and can result in back pain. This back pain occurs because the pain fibers that surround the disk are exposed to inflammatory chemicals from the disk and also are exposed to abnormal motion, both of which can cause back pain.
Anti-inflammatory medicines such as Aleve are helpful, and for severe back pain flareups we often prescribe a short course of steroids and physical therapy. A regular aerobic exercise program such as walking, bicycling or swimming 30 to 45 minutes, 3 to 4 times weekly, is helpful in maintaining proper trunk strengthening and also in enabling weight loss, which are both important in decreasing some of the pain associated with degenerative disk disease. Upper extremity strengthening and exercises such as martial arts and yoga are helpful for core muscle strengthening.
We do not perform surgery for neck or back pain, but we have had success in some patients treating back pain from facet joints with injections. If you are experiencing severe arm or leg pain associated with numbness or weakness that may indicate pressure on a nerve due to a herniated disc or bony spur. We have many treatment options for this.
Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment in the Tri-Cities, Tennessee
The board-certified orthopedic doctors at Watauga Orthopaedics have years of experience diagnosing and treating orthopedic conditions like degenerative disc disease. We cater to patients of all ages using the latest innovations to ensure everyone receives appropriate care. We have clinics at Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol, Tennessee.
You can call us at (423) 282-9011 to learn more about how we can best help you. Alternatively, schedule your visit with us by using this secure online form. We look forward to helping you keep your musculoskeletal system in shape!