Disc Replacement: What Is Degenerative Disc Disease? Am I At Risk?

Disc replacement is surgical procedure in which degenerated intervertebral discs in the spinal column are replaced with artificial devices. Degenerative disc disease is a common condition that develops as an individual ages. In fact, it’s estimated that almost everyone over the age of 60 has some issue concerning their spinal discs. This can be whether they feel back pain or not. Disc replacement is a serious process and here are some of the most pertinent facts concerning this increasingly common condition.

A neurosurgeon using pencil pointing at lumbar vertebra model in medical office representing disc replacement.

Disc replacement: What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease has a misleading name — in fact, this condition isn’t a disease at all. It’s actually a condition where the spinal discs begin to lose integrity within the outer and inner layers over time. In more severe cases, the disc can actually collapse, resulting in pain as the joints of the vertebrae rub against each other.

How can I develop degenerative disc disease?

There are a number of factors that can cause your spinal discs to degenerate. While the most common factor is simply aging, others may experience degenerative disc disease through frequent activities that put strain on these discs. A sudden injury may also damage the discs and lead to this condition. Any activity that results in the tearing, cracking, or drying of the outer core of the disc can contribute to the development of degenerative disc disease.

What are the common symptoms of degenerative disc disease?

The most common symptom of degenerative disc disease is pain. This may be frequent or come in waves at varying intervals. Some people can suffer from back pain for a few days. Other times others will experience pain that lasts for months at a time. This pain is often worse by bending or twisting motions. Good news is walking can help and alleviate the pain. Though many people think that the pain is only present in the back, some spinal specialists have seen this pain in the upper thighs and buttocks as well. A possible solution to this would be disc replacement.

As mentioned above, some people do not experience any pain when they’re suffering from the early stages of degenerative disc disease. As such, it’s important to visit your doctor at the earliest sign of any spinal problems. It’s also essential that people over the age of 60 schedule regular check ups by a spinal specialist. This can help stop this degenerative condition from worsening. After all, early detection means early prevention.

Are you suffering from degenerative disc disease, pinched nerves in the neck, or even scoliosis? These common conditions can be particularly painful, but a trip to a spinal specialist can help. It’s estimated that people who suffer from scoliosis will need surgery when their spine has a curve of 50 degrees or more. Whether you want to get treatment for scoliosis or talk about spine surgery options, the spine specialists at Moreno Spine are here to help. Contact Dr. Moreno for more information about your spinal problems today.

If you have any back problems, do not hesitate to reach out to us and learn more about our team today.

Additional resources: Learn whether or not you need to consider back surgery.