Newsletters

Why Do Discs Degenerate?


The aging process in your musculoskeletal system is inevitable, as the years of heavy use begin to take their toll. When this process begins to affect the components in your spine, however, the price can be hefty as you struggle with chronic neck and back pain.

At Camelback Spine Care, Dr. Harvinder S. Bedi and our team have extensive experience helping our patients navigate the many problems that can crop up in your spine, from sciatica to stenosis. And driving many of these issues are discs that are starting to break down.

Here’s a look at why your discs degenerate and what we can do about it.

The natural breakdown

To better understand what happens to your discs when degenerative processes take hold, let’s first take a look at the anatomy of your spine.

Your spine is made up of vertebrae that stretch from your head to your pelvis. In between these vertebrae are discs that provide crucial cushioning, support, and range of motion. To accomplish this, each of your discs is made up of a tough cartilage exterior that houses a jelly-like substance on the inside.

As you get older, there are several problems that can arise, starting with a loss of volume inside your discs as the substance inside begins to dry up. As well, the tough exteriors can naturally lose moisture, making your discs more brittle and prone to herniation and rupture. Not to mention, normal wear and tear can weaken the outer layers, rendering your discs more vulnerable to damage.

As your discs begin to compress, crack, or bulge, this reduces the amount of space in between your bones, which react by creating more bone (these are called bone spurs). This response is your body’s way of trying to maintain the strength of your spine.

These bone spurs, in turn, can irritate and compress your nerves, leading to local and radiating pain, as well as tingling and numbness.

As well, if your discs bulge out of their spaces, they can also irritate the nerves in the area, which is typically what occurs when you have sciatica.

It’s worth noting that most people undergo degenerative changes in their discs, but not everyone develops symptoms. Some people lead perfectly normal lives despite the degeneration while others struggle with pain and discomfort.

Diagnosing and treating your discs

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in your back or neck, our first step is to get a closer look at what’s going on inside using advanced imaging technology, such as X-rays and MRIs. If we find that disc degeneration is creating the problem, our goal is twofold: Help you find relief and prevent further deterioration.

For relief, we often turn to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and/or steroid injections. Once you’re more comfortable, we then set about remedying the problem for longer-term results. 

In many cases, we use a combination of regenerative medicine to help your discs heal and repair themselves and physical therapy to add more strength to the supporting tissues that surround your spine.

If these measures aren’t sufficient, we also offer surgical solutions in which we remove the damaged portions of your disc or fuse your vertebrae together.

If you suspect degenerative disc disease is causing your back or neck pain, please contact our office in Sun City, Arizona, to set up an appointment. Or you can book online right here on the website.

 

<< Previous Next >>

You might also enjoy

Jan 20th, 2021

PRP: Is it Safe

When it comes to healing, your body contains some very powerful resources. With platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, our goal is to redirect those resources to where you need them most. But is this regenerative therapy safe?

Read More
Aug 1st, 2021

What Every Woman Should Know About Osteoporosis

There are many physical differences between men and women, and some go right down to the bone. If you’ve wondered why women are more prone to osteoporosis and bone loss, read on to learn more.

Read More
Jul 14th, 2021

Your Child Has Scoliosis: Now What?

Your child has been diagnosed with scoliosis, and you want to set them up, as best you can, for a bright future. Here’s a look at your treatment options that depend upon many different factors, which we review here.

Read More
Oct 13th, 2021

Kyphoplasty treatments in office

Camelback Spine Care is now offering Kyphoplasty surgery in an office setting that allow patients to go home the same day. This minimally invasive outpatient surgery typically is done within one or two hours. Following the surgery and a brief waiting period for Dr. Bedi to assess the outcome, patients are allowed to go home under the supervision or care of a friend or family member. Schedule and appointment with Dr. Bedi and Camelback Spine Care to see if in-office Kyphoplasty treatment is right for you

Read More
Feb 11th, 2021

The Link Between Smoking and Osteoporosis

There are any number of reasons why smoking is bad for your health, and we’re going to add bone loss to this list. In the following, we explore the link between smoking and osteoporosis, giving you another good reason to quit.

Read More
Oct 21st, 2019

The Dangers of Tech Neck

Do you spend a lot of time on your cell phone or sitting at your computer? Maybe you’ve noticed that your posture is becoming worse, or that your neck and shoulders are starting to ache. Tech neck could be the reason for your troubles.

Read More