29 Oct 4 Facts About Degenerative Disc Disease You Might Not Know
Almost everyone will have some degree of degenerative disc disease (DDD) in their lifetime. It’s one of the most common complaints at Integrated Pain Consultants, but luckily there are treatments available beyond medication management. DDD is also known as spinal disc degeneration, and it makes sense why this is so common. Our spinal discs are the cushions between our vertebrae and they are full of a gel-like substance that keeps the bones in our back from grinding against one another. Just like anything else, these discs are prone to wear and tear as we get older. They get dry, brittle, and can’t do the job like they used to. This is how DDD occurs.
Here’s a few things you need to know about degenerative disc disease:
- Don’t let the name scare you. DDD can be painful and immobilizing when it gets to severe stages, but it’s not actually a disease. DDD should be expected if we’re lucky enough to live into older age. By the age of 60, over 90% of people have some degree of DDD.
- DDD advances spinal osteoarthritis (OA). OA is the most common type of arthritis and it occurs when the cartilage in our joints gets inflamed and/or worn down. DDD can contribute to facet joint arthritis or degenerative arthritis. DDD is different than spinal OA, but they are often found together and exacerbate one another.
- DDD is a huge contributor to the world’s leading cause of disability. The leading cause of disability claims around the world is back pain. Specifically, lower back pain. DDD is actually the most common cause of lower back pain, which means it’s the culprit behind all of those missed days of work and being stuck in bed.
- There’s a genetic component to DDD. Even though almost everyone will have DDD, it’s also partially genetic. Age is the biggest risk factor in DDD, but if you have a parent with DDD you’re more likely to experience it sooner and to a more severe degree. This is because a gene variation can increase the risk of DDD.
You can’t reverse degenerative disc disease but you can treat the pain and slow down its progression. Physical therapy paired with treatments like epidural steroid injections, spinal cord stimulation, and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) are all fantastic minimally-invasive tools. Schedule your detailed evaluation with Integrated Pain Consultants today by calling (480) 626-2552.