Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is the most common cause of neck and low back pain and typically affects your cervical or lumbar spine.
This condition affects your back strength and develops due to common wear and tear or spinal injuries. Your discs, located between the vertebrae of the spine, act as cushions and shock absorbers and help you perform everyday activities. Once a disc is injured, it cannot repair itself.
You may not experience any symptoms as your discs degenerate, and the amount of pain you feel from DDD does not correlate with how degraded your discs are. Some may experience mild but continuous pain, while others will experience severe, disabling pain at the same level of disc degeneration. DDD can lead to spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, spondylolisthesis, herniated discs, and scoliosis if left untreated. Learn more about DDD in the video below.
You can prevent signs of Degnerative Disk Disease by maintaining proper posture, using ergonomic furniture to support the spine, and regularly stretching your neck and back. Car accidents, being overweight or obese, and living a sedentary lifestyle can also increase your risk for developing DDD.
The most common symptom of DDD is mild but continuous pain around the degenerating disc that may flare up into more severe pain.
Some living with DDD may not experience any symptoms, but symptoms can include:
Before visiting your medical professional, try to keep a symptom diary to track how often and severe your symptoms are. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, your medical history, any medications you take, if trauma to the neck or back occurred, and what you have already tried to reduce the pain. They will also conduct a physical exam to check for any spine abnormalities and examine your range of motion. Your doctor may order diagnostic tests such as:
Age is one of the greatest risk factors for Degenerative Disk Disease, as it’s primarily caused by the wear and tear of spinal discs.
This condition does not always lead to pain, but typically pain stems from:
Almost everyone experiences disc degeneration after age 40, but only 5% of these people will experience back pain.
As your discs degenerate, they become more susceptible to herniation.
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Contact our office to schedule an appointment and let us help you get back on your way to an active life without the limitations of chronic pain. From our Phoenix office, The Pain Experts of Arizona, serves pain management patients in Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek, and the entire Phoenix area.