Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease and Spine Injuries | Mend Clinic Salem, OR

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is extremely common, and it’s likely that everyone will experience it at some point. The spine is a complicated mechanism and includes natural “shock absorbers”—the discs between each vertebra. However, just like the shock absorbers on a car, these discs will wear out over time. They can wear out faster in someone who is very active, carries excess weight, or has a lifestyle with a number of conditions such as smoking or not exercising regularly.

Discs are important because they keep a spine flexible. Without them, you couldn’t twist or bend. Discs breaking down over time is normal, but when it happens too early or comes with pain, it can be debilitating.

Causes of Disc Disease

The most common types of “wearing out” is when discs become dry or when they crack. Degenerative disc disease is not the same as a bulging or ruptured disc (although a worn-out disc can certainly bulge or become ruptured). Keep in mind that discs are made up mostly of water, just like the rest of your body. With age, the water can lessen. Flat discs don’t make the best shock absorbers. Lack of water also means there’s simply less padding.

Cracked discs usually occur as a repetitive injury. Little tears in the wall of the disc can expose the nerves causing a very painful condition. This is most often the root cause of a herniated disc.

Most people with degenerative disc disease complain of lower back pain. Without diagnosis and treatment, this can progress to tingling in the limbs. Although the disease can’t be stopped, there are lifestyle changes to slow down progression and pain management, so the disease doesn’t interfere with a person’s lifestyle.

Get Help For Back and Spine Injuries At Mend Clinic

Almost everyone will experience lower back pain in their life, and it’s not always a sign of degenerative disc disease. However, one of the disease’s hallmarks is that pain often comes and goes. It’s unsafe to assume that disappearing back pain is truly “gone.” Make an appointment with Mend Clinic, or walk in any day of the week and see an orthopedic specialist to rule out—or begin treatment—of degenerative disc disease.