The main 3 things which you should know about your lumbar degenerative disc disease are as follows:
a) Degenerative disc disease is not a disease: The most of the people usually think that a degenerative disc disease is a disease; however, the truth is that degenerative disc disease is a degenerative condition which is a part of the natural aging process and it is not a disease. This is a condition where most of the people will experience some degree of degeneration to their spinal discs; however, the best part is that the majority of people will not experience any symptoms from disc degeneration.
The fact is that the degree of degeneration is not always connected to the severity of your symptoms. For e.g. a person who have severely degenerated discs but they experience only minor discomfort.
b) Symptoms of degenerative disc won’t necessarily get worse over time: The time when you hear the term called degenerative, it is logical to assume that your symptoms from degenerative disc disease will progressively worsen over the period of time. This is a very critical condition for you as you may already be experiencing intense lower back pain from degenerative disc disease.
According to the study, the pain from degenerative disc disease actually tends to improve over a period of time; however, it is possible that your symptoms of degenerative disc disease will get worse with age.
c) Surgery is an exception: The most of the people usually have a fear that they will eventually need to undergo for a surgery to address their degenerative disc disease, however, the condition of degenerative disc disease can be successfully treated with non-surgical measures which are as follows:
- Heat and/or cold therapy
- Activity modification
- Pain medication
Generally, the surgeons will consider surgery if your day-to-day functioning is severely limited by your symptoms and the non-surgical treatments are failed to provide a successful outcome. If this is the case then your surgeon may recommend lumbar spinal fusion surgery or lumbar disc replacement surgery after your medical examination depending on your specific situation.
What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
With your increasing age, the discs in your back lose water and begin to lose their height. The time you were born your discs are about 80% of water is made up of. Incorrect movements, wear and tear, poor posture while standing, sitting or bending etc. can also be a reason for degenerative disc disease.
As per the research, these discs are like shock absorbers between the bones in your spine and the loss of water bring them closer together and opening nerve in your spine also become narrower as a result. These are the discs which do not absorb shocks as well as they used to, especially when you walk, run or jump.
The other tissues in your body require a blood supply, similarly, there is very little blood supply required in your discs as well. Once damage occurs to your discs, it lacks the ability to repair itself, and degeneration sets in.
How Degenerative Disc is Diagnosed?
To diagnose your degenerative disc your doctor will first physically examine your back and lower extremities. They will also check your disc flexibility, the range of motion and certain signs that indicate nerves in your back are being affected. The surgeons at the hospitals under Spine Surgery India also diagnose the degenerative disc by conducting your muscle strength and your reflexes. They may also conduct x-rays or MRI scans.
How the Degenerative Disc Disease is Treated?
To treat the degenerative disc there are various treatment options but they will depend on the severity of your symptoms and how much they disrupt or limit your daily activities. The following are some common treatments to treat degenerative disc disease:
- Firstly, the surgeons at the hospitals under Spine Surgery India recommend the non-surgical treatment options such as medications, physical therapy or chiropractic care which help the patients to ease mild to moderate pain.
- Secondly, the surgeon at the hospitals under Spine Surgery India will recommend the surgery called spinal fusion is performed. This is a surgery where the two or more vertebrae into one solid bone with no space in between. Spinal fusion is a procedure which is also known as arthrodesis, or vertebral interbody fusion. In the case of degenerative disc disease, your surgeon will remove the damaged discs and place the bone grafts into the empty disc space and this procedure is known as discectomy.
- Thirdly, your surgeon will perform the surgery which is known as cervical disc replacement where your surgeon will replace the damaged disc with an artificial disc device, which sometimes known as disc prosthesis. This device is usually made of metal or a plastic-like material called biopolymer. Cervical disc replacement is an alternative procedure to spinal fusion which allows more normal motion to your spine, and this is a procedure which is a better alternative approach for young patients. The other potential benefit for opting the cervical disc replacement surgery is that you will recover quick and fast and also you can resume your normal activities sooner than as compared to the spinal fusion procedure.
Note: Your surgeons at the hospitals under Spine Surgery India will recommend the surgery only in those cases, where the non-surgical treatments are failed to provide a successful outcome. Pain is a subjective thing, the people of any age could be affected by pain, however, according to study, it has been found that the pain due to degenerative disc disease occurs mostly people aged 60 and over and not all of them experience debilitating pain from it.
If you are one of them who experiencing chronic or new back pain, then contact Spine Surgery India, the best and leading medical tourism company. We have tie-ups with best and renowned hospitals across the globe with the team of top-rated orthopedic doctors which includes a team of highly skilled and experienced spine specialists who will help you get back in motion.