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Most of us will experience some form of spinal disc degeneration in our lifetimes. Roughly 30 percent of us will show signs by age 35 and 90 percent by age 90.
When most people hear the term spinal disc degeneration, they immediately think of pain. However, not everyone with disc degeneration experiences pain. When they do, it is called degenerative disc disease. It’s a condition that Kayal Orthopaedic Center, the pain management specialists in Westwood and beyond, have the training and experience to quickly and expertly diagnose and treat.
Your backbone (vertebral column) contains 33 vertebrae, which are grouped into three divisions: cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back) and lumbar (lower back). Each pair of vertebrae is connected by an intervertebral disc. When your spine is healthy, the discs cushion the vertebrae and allow normal flexibility of your spine.
Your discs are made up of a fibrous exterior and a soft cartilage core. As you age, your discs can dry out, thin or crack. They can shrink or flatten out. In addition, the cartilage core can bulge out through the fibrous exterior. Degenerative disc disease is the umbrella term that describes these and other painful issues with your discs.
Your discs serve as shock absorbers between your spinal bones. With normal wear and tear, they start to lose this ability. It can cause back or neck pain along with weakness, numbness and shooting pains in your arms or legs. Your hips can be affected too. In typical cases, you experience steady, low-level chronic pain with occasional outbursts of more severe pain. However, your symptoms can vary depending on the type and location of degenerative disc disease.
Degenerative disc disease can be difficult to diagnose. But the experts at Kayal Pain & Spine Center have the expertise and the tools to pinpoint your problem. In addition to considering your medical history and your symptoms, your doctor probably will order X-rays and spinal imaging tests. Once your diagnosis is definitive, your doctor will work with you to develop the unique treatment plan that is right for you.
Unfortunately, once your disc is injured, it cannot repair itself. However, your pain often can be controlled with nonsurgical approaches, including medication that reduces inflammation administered orally or through epidural injections. Medication is often combined with physical therapy, low-impact aerobic conditioning and strength exercises. Other nonsurgical treatments include: heat and/or ice therapy and modified activity.
These treatments are often very successful in controlling your pain. But when they are not, your Kayal Pain & Spine Center specialist will consider surgery, narrowing down all options to the best surgical approach for you.
You may be a strong candidate for surgery if:
The team at Kayal Pain & Spine Center will do everything within its power to relieve your pain so that you can live your best life. We are the spine surgery specialists in Bergen County that offer the exceptional care you deserve. Our sophisticated pain and spine therapies and treatments are designed to relieve your pain and restore your active lifestyle. To schedule an appointment, call 844.281.1783 or contact us on the web.