Now offering Telehealth. Contact our office today to schedule a virtual appointment.

Is Degenerative Disc Disease Unavoidable?

Back pain is one of the most common complaints that take people to the doctor. If you have unexplained back or neck pain, as with any medical condition, it pays to get to the root of the problem early. You may have degenerative disc disease. The condition may also cause feelings of weakness, numbness, or intermittent stabbing pain in your arms or legs. 

Daniel Loder, MD, double-board certified pain management physician, is the expert you want to see if you have unexplained back or neck pain. He reviews your medical history, has you perform physical movement to test your mobility, and performs other diagnostic tests to determine whether degenerative disc disease is the problem in your back or neck. 

What is degenerative disc disease? 

You have 33 bones in your neck and back stacked on top of each other — your vertebrae. You have a spinal disc between each of the bones that cushions the space between the bones, so they don’t rub together. 

Degenerative disc disease means that you have extensive wear on one or more discs that is causing your painful symptoms. This condition can simply be a result of normal aging, or it can be a result of excessive wear-and-tear caused by sports or a job requiring heavy physical labor. 

If disc degeneration isn’t treated, it can lead to osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and other spinal conditions. 

Treating degenerative disc disease 

Dr. Loder offers a range of treatments depending on the severity of your condition. If it’s mild, then rest, physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes may be your prescriptions. 

If it’s more severe and your pain is intense, Dr. Loder may perform a nerve block or provide an epidural injection. If they don’t provide enough relief, radiofrequency ablation and spinal cord stimulation are two good options for pain relief. 

Can I prevent degenerative disc disease? 

Your lifestyle and habits can definitely have a positive or negative impact on degenerative disc disease. Following are steps you can take to help prevent the condition. If you do have it, these habits can help prevent it from worsening.  

Exercise, including your core muscles 

When you exercise, you’re pumping oxygen, blood, and important nutrients to your spinal discs. Incorporate all-body workouts into your weekly routine. 

Most daily activity doesn’t involve activating your core muscles. They’re critical in supporting your back, so make an effort to incorporate core muscle exercises into your routine at home or at the gym. 

Maintain good posture

Something as simple as standing or sitting up straight goes a long way toward preventing degenerative disc disease. If you hunch forward when you sit at the computer, you’re stressing your neck and lumbar, or lower back vertebrae

If you work on your computer most of the day, investing in an ergonomic chair and using proper posture is one of the best things you can do for your health. They’re made to reduce stress on your back.

It’s important to take breaks frequently. Movement helps your spine stay hydrated and flexible. 

If your work involves physical labor, ensure you’re using proper lifting technique and use a protective belt, if needed. 

Stretch 

Work with a trainer or physical therapist to show you stretches to do in the morning and at night. Stretching your hamstrings can help lower stress in your lower back; the muscles extend all the way from your hips down to the back of your knees. 

Maintain a normal weight 

Be kind to your spine. Don’t make it work overtime all the time by putting on excess pounds. As your BMI goes up, so does stress on your spine

Call Daniel Loder, MD, or book an appointment online for expert treatment for neck, back, and other musculoskeletal pain. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Could Your Head Pain Stem from Occipital Neuralgia?

You’ve recently developed headaches like no other headaches you’ve ever had. You may have a condition called occipital neuralgia. Learn how the symptoms of occipital neuralgia differ from other types of headaches.

Radiculopathy: Beyond a Pain In the Neck

Are you having pain or numbness in your neck? When you try to move your head, does it really hurt? You may have cervical radiculopathy, more commonly known as a pinched nerve.

Recognizing Sacroiliac Joint Problems

Is lower back pain getting you down? If your pain has become chronic, you need an accurate diagnosis. The pain could stem from your sacroiliac joint. It’s time to see a specialist.

What Might Be Causing Your Hip Pain

Your hip hurts, and it isn’t getting any better. If you’d had a fall or accident, you’d understand the source of the pain. If you don’t understand why your hip hurts, it’s time to see a specialist.

Understanding the Specialty of Sports Medicine

Whether you actively play sports or not, sports medicine can help you heal after an acute injury such as a fall or if you have a chronic musculoskeletal complaint. Learn more about this relatively new specialty.