Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a condition that affects the spine, particularly the intervertebral discs that act as cushions between the vertebrae. While degenerative disc disease can affect people of all ages, it’s a common cause of back pain for those over 50. Although it’s a progressive condition, early diagnosis and treatment can help slow its progression and severity. Epidural pain management and other treatments can help patients manage their symptoms and lead healthy, fulfilling lives. Our medical experts at Interventional Pain Doctors have highlighted some of the early warning signs of degenerative disc disease to be aware of.
What Causes Discs to Degenerate?
When we are born, our [intervertebral discs](https://medlineplus.gov/ency/imagepages/19469.htm#:~:text=The vertebral column provides protection,cushioning to the spinal column.) consist mainly of water. As we age, the discs slowly lose their water content, resulting in less shock absorption and cushioning between vertebrae. Over time, small tears in the disc’s outer wall form. When discs push through this wall, they become herniated or slipped discs.
Other Factors Linked To Degenerative Disc Disease:
- Traumatic injuries
- Physically demanding jobs
Common Early Signs of Degenerative Disc Disease
While degenerative disc disease is a progressive condition, there are early indicators of its onset to look out for.
Back Pain With Movement
Back pain with particular movements is a common sign of degenerative disc disease. This may affect the lower back, upper back, or neck. The pain may be mild or severe and may worsen with activity.
Stiffness in the back may make it difficult to get out of bed or move around comfortably. This can also affect a patient’s range of motion, making it difficult to bend, twist, or lift objects.
Numbness & Tingling
Slipped discs put pressure on spinal nerves, leading to numbness and tingling sensations in the arms, legs, and fingers.
Changes In Posture
People with degenerative disc disease may notice changes in their posture—a hunched or stooped appearance. This is due to the loss of support from the intervertebral discs.
Degenerative disc disease can cause radiating pain that spreads from the back to other areas, including the hips, buttocks, and legs.
In its early stages, non-invasive treatments—physical therapy, exercise, hot/cold therapy, and massages—are effective ways to manage symptoms of degenerative disc disease. When symptoms are severe, our specialists may recommend epidural pain management injections or radiofrequency ablations to reduce inflammation and pain.
Consult With Our Epidural Pain Management Specialists
Since early diagnosis is the key to combating degenerative disc disease, those noticing these early signs should visit a healthcare professional for an evaluation. Our epidural pain management treatments can help slow the progression of the disease and ease chronic pain. To learn more about the treatment options our pain management doctors Long Beach CA offer, please visit our website.