Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)
The spinal discs provide cushion and support for the vertebrae and spinal cord. These discs have a tough outer shell with a softer, jelly-like interior. Age and other factors can result in spinal discs becoming flatter and more brittle, a condition called degenerative disc disease (DDD). At DOCS Health, we offer advanced treatments for DDD in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine at our medical center in Los Angeles.
The seven vertebrae in the cervical spine are separated by discs that may be susceptible to degenerative disc disease. The discs may become flat as they lose moisture, which brings the vertebrae closer together. Some patients with DDD in the cervical spine may experience pinched nerves or spinal cord compression. This can result in localized neck pain, as well as radiating pain or weakness into the arms and hands. Other symptoms can include tinnitus, visual issues and hearing loss.
Thoracic degenerative disc disease is less common than cervical or lumbar DDD, but it can be painful. If the deteriorated disc presses on the nerve roots, it can cause back pain at the level of the disc or radiating pain around the chest and abdomen. These symptoms can mimic gastrointestinal, heart and respiratory issues, but are caused by pressure on the nerve roots that serve the organs in the torso.
Degenerative disc disease in the lower back or lumbar region is common among middle-aged persons. The flattened discs can put pressure on the nerve roots exiting from the lumbar spine. The symptoms can include localized low back pain, radiating pain into the buttocks and legs, increased pain with sitting, localized tenderness and possible numbness, weakness or tingling radiating through the buttocks and legs.
Degenerative disc disease treatment usually begins with conservative options, including physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and injection therapy. Surgery is only considered when other treatments are ineffective in resolving pain or symptoms.
If you have symptoms of degenerative disc disease in the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine, come see us at DOCS Health. Contact our medical center in Beverly Hills, CA, to schedule your consultation.