Disc Degeneration refers to changes in the discs in the spine as a result of normal wear and tear, aging, or injury. It is caused by the loss of fluid in the disc, which acts as a shock absorber. If the disc wall is damaged, the disc may collapse. This compromises the disc’s function as a cushion between the vertebrae. It may also lead to additional problems including bone spurs and spinal stenosis.
Disc Degeneration symptoms may result in neck or back pain in the location of the affected disc. It may result in numbness or tingling in the arm, leg, or buttocks. Pain may worsen with movements such as bending, reaching, or twisting. Disc degeneration is found more often in patients who are obese, do heavy lifting, or smoke cigarettes.
Treatment usually begins with medication to control inflammation, the application of heat, and physical therapy with an exercise program that minimizes twisting motions. If not successful spinal epidural steroids may be necessary. Surgery is the last option.