Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment in Boston, MA
What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
This condition is a weakening of one or more vertebral discs, which normally act as a cushion between the vertebrae. This condition can develop as a natural part of the aging process, but it may also result from injury to the back.
What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease?
Disc Wall Tears – Degenerative disc disease typically begins when small tears appear in the disc wall, called the annulus. These tears can cause pain.
Disc Wall Heals – When the tears heal, creating scar tissue that is not as strong as the original disc wall. If the back is repeatedly injured, the process of tearing and scarring may continue, weakening the disc wall.
Disc Wall Weakens – Over time, the nucleus (or center) of the disc becomes damaged and loses some of its water content. This center is called the pulposus, and its water content is needed to keep the disc functioning as a shock absorber for the spine.
Nucleus Collapses – Unable to act as a cushion, the nucleus collapses. The vertebrae above and below this damaged disc slide closer together. This improper alignment causes the facet joints – the areas where the vertebral bones touch – to twist into an unnatural position.
Bone Spurs Form – In time, this awkward positioning of the vertebrae may create bone spurs. If these spurs grow into the spinal canal, they may pinch the spinal cord and nerves (a condition called spinal stenosis). The site of the injury may be painful.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
Some people experience pain, numbness, or tingling in the legs. Strong pain tends to come and go. Bending, twisting, and sitting may make the pain worse. Lying down relieves pressure on the spine.
Schedule an Appointment in Boston, MA
If you’re experiencing symptoms of degenerative disc disease, contact spine specialist Frank X. Pedlow, MD’s office in Boston, MA today to discuss your treatment options. If you would like to schedule an appointment, call our office at (617) 227-9300 or use our secure form.