Your spine is made up of 33 vertebrae. Some of these vertebrae are fused together. But between the unfused vertebrae lie intervertebral discs.
These discs (25 in total) provide crucial cushioning and support to prevent vertebrae from grinding against each other. But as you get older — or after an injury — it’s common for the discs to break down or degenerate. This is a condition known as degenerative disc disease.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
The symptoms of degenerative disc disease may be mild or severe, depending on how far it has progressed. The most common symptoms include:
- Sharp back or neck pain
- Radiating tingling or numbness in the extremities
Degenerative disc disease pain may feel worse when you sit, bend, twist, or lift and may come and go. Some people experience persistent pain for a few days, while others feel pain for months at a time.
How Serious Is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease is not life-threatening, but you should still take a diagnosis seriously. This disease has the potential to cause several complications if left untreated. There is no cure for degenerative disc disease, but when caught in the early stages, it’s possible to manage the symptoms, prevent further degeneration, and live a normal life.
How to Relieve the Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
There are a few different ways to relieve the symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease.
Over-the-counter painkillers are a good choice for managing inflammation and pain associated with mild cases of degenerative disc disease. Prescription medications may be required to find relief from advanced cases. Muscle relaxers are also a common choice for people who experience muscle spasms due to degenerative disc disease.
Depending on the severity of the disease, physical therapy may be an effective treatment for degenerative disc disease. Physical therapy can help improve your range of motion and strengthen the muscles in your back. This provides critical support and stability that helps take pressure off of the affected discs.
Another possible treatment option to relieve the symptoms of degenerative disc disease is regenerative medicine, which has been shown to have the potential to manage a variety of conditions.
For individuals with degenerative disc disease, regenerative medicine may be able to help manage chronic pain, decrease muscle spasms, reduce numbing and tingling, and improve strength and mobility.
Living with Degenerative Disc Disease
If you have degenerative disc disease, it’s important to discuss all treatment options with your doctor to determine the best choice for you. The treatment that is right for you will depend on the location and severity of the disc degeneration. But rest assured; it is possible to live a long and happy life with degenerative disc disease.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for back pain, also known as stem cell therapy for degenerative disc disease. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.