The aging process affects most bones and tissues in the body, including those in the spine. Degenerative disc disease refers to this aging process that can weaken and deteriorate the intervertebral discs in the cervical, lumbar and thoracic regions in the spine. Once these discs become weakened, they are susceptible to damage that can cause pain and discomfort. At Atlanta Spine, we can offer effective solutions to relieve the symptoms of degenerative disc disease or DDD.
Symptoms and Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease
Disc degeneration occurs as the protein and water in the disc’s exterior cartilage decreases, causing the shell to become susceptible to damage. This can also cause the discs to become smaller, narrowing the space between vertebrae. These changes can make it easier for the discs to become injured and put pressure on the tissues and nerves surrounding the spinal column.
Depending on where the DDD is located, it can begin to cause a myriad of symptoms. In the cervical or neck region, degenerative disc disease can lead to pinched or pressured nerves that can affect different parts of the upper body with pain or weakness. The thoracic region is less likely to be affected by DDD, but it is possible and can cause pain in the middle of the back as well as in the lower extremities. The lumbar or lower back region is very susceptible to spinal deterioration, causing pain, numbness and weakness in the legs, hips and feet, usually only on one side of the body.
At Atlanta Spine, Dr. Bhatti offers treatment options to help minimize the symptoms of degenerative disc disease. Physical therapy is often a conservative option that can offer relief, along with other non-surgical treatments. However, DDD can lead to more serious damage to the spine that may require more aggressive treatments. Contact Atlanta Spine today for an appointment to receive a comprehensive exam to determine whether you have degenerative disc disease and what treatment options are available.