The Complications of Degenerative Disc Disease

Back pain is a widespread ailment. About 30% of American adults have some type of back pain. It can be caused by several things, from incorrectly lifting heavy objects to chronic pain conditions such as degenerative disc disease. Sometimes the pain responds to over the counter pain relievers and goes away, but in some cases, it’s a chronic issue that’s debilitating.

At Spinal Diagnostics in Tualatin and Newberg, Oregon, we have the experience and tools to provide you with a diagnosis and effective treatments for back pain. Highly regarded pain medicine doctors Dr. Robert Heros, MD, and Dr. Jason Anderson, DO, have years of experience helping patients find the best options for treating their back pain. 

What is degenerative disc disease?

Your back is supported by your spine, which is made up of small bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are stacked on top of each other with your spinal cord running through the middle. In between the vertebrae are rubbery discs that hold the vertebrae together, cushioning the bones and preventing them from rubbing together. They also flex to allow for spinal mobility. 

These discs can wear or break down over time, causing the bones to rub together. The wear happens with age, but can also be the result of a traumatic injury or overuse. Degenerative disc disease typically causes pain, which can be severe. The discomfort can be worsened by lifting, twisting, bending, or simply standing up or sitting down. 

The complications of degenerative disc disease

In most cases of degenerative disc disease, the condition can be managed under the careful supervision of a pain management doctor. It typically doesn’t worsen and cause other issues, but in some cases it can cause complications, such as:

  • Herniated disc
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Weakness or tingling in one or both legs
  • Pain in one or both legs
  • Osteoarthritis in the back
  • Disabling pain 

Getting an early diagnosis and having a treatment plan developed by a pain management physician helps to avoid any complications from developing from degenerative disc disease. 

Treatments for degenerative disc disease

At Spinal Diagnostics, we offer the latest treatment options for degenerative disc disease to relieve your pain and get you moving again. Some of the treatments we consider are:

  • Prescription pain medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Surgery
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Interspinous spacers like Vertiflex
  • Minimally invasive ligamentum flavum decompression (MILD Procedure)

Typically, the least invasive options are tried first, to see if they are effective. If those options do not relieve your symptoms, more invasive methods like surgery may be needed.

If you have questions about degenerative disc disease, or other pain management concerns, call one of our offices to set up an appointment, or use our online appointment booking system.

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