Degenerative Disc Disease

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Degenerative disc disease is not a disease, but rather a degenerative condition that can be painful and can greatly affect your quality of life. It is also part of the natural process of growing older. Dr. Edward Hill explains more in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Degenerative disc disease is a term used to describe the normal changes in your spinal discs as you age. Spinal discs are soft, compressible discs that separate the 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. It most often occurs in the discs in the lower back and the lower part of the neck.

Degenerative disc disease may result in back or neck pain. This varies from person to person. The pain often gets worse with movements such as bending over, reaching up, or twisting. In some cases, you may have numbness or tingling in your leg or arm.

Treatment may include ice or heat and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Your health professional can prescribe stronger medications if necessary. Physical therapy and exercises for strengthening and stretching the back are often recommended. In some cases surgery may be recommended.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.