Hearing the word “degenerative” in connection with your back health is scary, but degenerative disc disease doesn’t have to be a tragedy. The condition may be painful and even debilitating, but there are viable treatment options available that can help improve quality of life and restore motion while reducing pain.
Discs in your back may begin to break down over time. Degenerative disc disease describes the symptoms of having pain, weakness, or numbness resulting from a disc. For many patients, the most painful episodes occur early in the process, making the name “degenerative disc disease” a bit misleading. In fact, pain and other symptoms may recede over time. Treatment helps with this process and helps prevent additional damage.
There are a number of factors that come into play to cause degenerative disc disease. It is not usually preceded by a trauma; rather it is a low-energy injury that worsens over time. Discs are unable to repair themselves following an injury, because they do not have a blood supply. A relatively insignificant injury can start a process in which the disc simply wears out over time.
There are several treatment options available, including epidural injection, steroid injections, and physical therapy. Frequently used to treat neck, midback, and low back pain, an epidural steroid injection is placed, with the guidance of fluoroscopy, into the area around the damaged disc and nerves. The anti-inflammatory and pain relieving medications help reduce inflammation around the nerves, minimizing the need for surgery.
Steroid injections are very specifically targeted to the damaged area using fluoroscopy. The medication is delivered directly to the damaged area, providing pain relief for an extended period.
In some cases, physical therapy can produce a strengthening of the muscles that surround and support the spine, reducing pressure on nerves and relieving pain. Physical therapy also involves education on the proper handling of daily tasks, lifting techniques and preventative measures.
Dr. Alexander established the Non-Surgical Spine Center with the mission of providing patients and clinicians a non-surgical alternative in the treatment of spine and musculoskeletal pain. Utilizing the most current and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic techniques, our group offers patients a multitude of options for improving daily function and quality of life while significantly decreasing levels of pain. If you have back pain, feel free to contact our office at 843-856-9669 or at our contact page.
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