Degenerative Disc Disease Doesn’t Have To Diminish Your Quality Of Living
Day after day, you bend, lift, turn and twist your neck without giving it much thought — until discomfort from Degenerative Disc Disease appears. Once easy, daily motions, can become a painful burden. Years of repetitive movement, without proper care or stretching, leads to more than the body’s usual wear and tear. What starts as radiating neck pain, may advance to numbness and weakness in your limbs.
What Is Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease?
The cervical spine consists of seven bones called vertebrae, which are separated by discs filled with a gel-like substance. These discs stabilize the neck and allow it to turn smoothly from side-to-side and front-to-back, while providing cushion for the body like a shock absorber.
Over time, the discs may become worn, and degenerate. The space between the vertebrae narrows pinching the nerve roots. This is known as Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease. As the disease progresses, the neck becomes more rigid, creating pain and stiffness. Even though Degenerative Disc Disease is most often due to age, it can also be influenced by lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, smoking, and your posture. The most common symptoms are ongoing neck pain, muscle spasms, headache, and of course, a stiff neck.
How Is Degenerative Disc Disease Diagnosed?
To diagnose, your doctor will discuss your medical history, to pinpoint specifics about symptoms, perform a complete physical exam, and do an imaging test such as X-rays, MRI’s, or even CT scans to help visualize the spinal cord and pinpoint the source of pain.
What To Do About Cervical Disc Degenerative Disease
At Pain and Spine Specialists, we perform different types of interventional procedures to treat Cervical Disc Degeneration which include cervical epidural steroid injections (a non-surgical option) and a cervical medial branch radio frequency ablation (RFA). RFA is a highly effective treatment for pain relief as it precisely targets an area of pain and disrupts the nerve to reduce discomfort.
Some patients also respond to treatment with over-the-counter pain medications and physical therapy alone with no other intervention needed. With physical therapy, the therapist can manipulate the muscles and joints to reduce your pain and stiffness, increase your range of motion, and help correct posture.