Degenerative disc disease is not really a disease but a term used to describe the normal changes in your spinal discs as you age. Spinal discs are soft, compressible discs that separate the interlocking bones (vertebrae) that make up the spine. The discs act as shock absorbers for the spine, allowing it to flex, bend, and twist. Degenerative disc disease can take place throughout the spine, but it most often occurs in the discs in the lower back (lumbar region) and the neck (cervical region).
What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease?
The leading cause of degenerative disc disease is something that simply cannot be avoided – the natural aging process. As we grow older, the anatomical components of the neck, including the intervertebral discs, naturally begin to deteriorate as a result of years of regular wear and tear. This is particularly common in the cervical spine (neck), which supports the weight of the skull and also provide full range of motion.
However, aging isn’t the only factor that can lead to degenerative disc disease in the neck. Other lifestyle factors and events can also exacerbate or accelerate the onset of degenerative disc disease. Essentially, any activity that puts additional strain on the neck can lead to disc deterioration. Careers that require frequent bending, twisting, or lifting, for example, are likely to lead to disc problems later in life. Participation in high-impact sports is also a leading contributor to neck problems. Traumatic injury can further cause degenerative neck problems even after the neck has otherwise healed. It is these factors that begin to explain the variance in the ages of patients who are initially diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. It should be noted that the majority of the cases of this condition are first exhibited at middle age.
How Do We Treat Degenerative Disc Disease?
Our physicians and staff specialize in degenerative disc disease. For patients who have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in their neck, a number of treatment options may be considered. In order to determine which course of treatment is best for the patient, the doctor will take into account a variety of factors, such as the patient’s overall health, current medications, the cause of the degenerative disc disease, and the patient’s age, among others.
At Pain Care Specialists of Oregon, neck pain from a herniated or bulging disc can be managed with a series of conservative, noninvasive techniques that are designed to alleviate painful nerve compression and abate the patient’s pain. The use of over-the-counter or prescription pain medication or anti-inflammatories may be recommended in addition to regularly applying heat or ice, participating in low-impact exercises, using various stretching techniques, getting rest, and other similar treatments.
Whether your neck pain comes from simple wear and tear, accident or injury, the professionals at Pain Care Specialists of Oregon will diagnose and treat it using cutting-edge technology and the finest medical attention. If you are experiencing neck pain, please contact us to help relieve your pain and cure its cause.