Utah Degenerative Disc Disease Pain & Treatment
What is degenerative disc disease?
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is the normal wear-and-tear of the intervertebral discs that happens to all individuals, usually progressing with age. This is one of the common causes for neck and back pain because as a disc begins to wear away, pressure is distributed unevenly throughout the spinal column. Although common, not everyone experiences pain from DDD. Pain associated with DDD is often described with three phases including:
Acute injury occurs to the disc, the injury causes instability of the spine
Inflammation, with intermittent bouts of pain
Healing, at which point the instability is corrected and fewer episodes of pain occur.
What causes degenerative disc disease?
Pain associated with DDD is thought to be caused by inflammatory compression of discs, and instability of discs which causes reflexive muscle spasms. The pain tends to be intermittent and can be anywhere from very painful to not intrusive at all. If pain is severe or continuous, pathology beside degeneration disc disease must be considered.
Numbness, tingling, and radiation of pain to the extremities are other signs that a patient might be suffering from DDD. If these symptoms worsen, it is likely that disc degeneration has progressed into a disc herniation, which will compress and possibly damage adjacent nerve roots.
Diagnosis of Degenerative Discs
Degenerative disc disease can be diagnosed only by excluding other possible disorders. An MRI can be helpful with a diagnosis. However, individuals may experience pain with no radiological findings or vice versa, a patient may have significant deterioration and no associated pain. A diagnosis will only be made when a physician compares radiological imaging with the patient's history and a physical examination.
Utah Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment
Conservative management therapies of DDD include heat and ice use at the site of pain to reduce inflammation, epidural steroid injections, physical therapy, medication (such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or opioids), activity modification, and strengthening of surrounding muscles to relieve compression related pain. If conservative methods fail, surgical options include: Nucleoplasty, or removal of disc, disc arthroplasty, or artificial disc replacement, and the fusion of vertebrae in the spine to reduce disc motion.
For more information on how Omega Interventional Pain can help treat degenerative disc disease, please contact us at 801-261-4988, or stop by our offices in Salt Lake City, Utah.