Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Understanding Degenerative Disc Disease

Pain in the neck has never impacted so much.  Although Degenerative Disc Disease is not technically a "disease" it is placed in this category because of the changes that it causes your spinal discs go through as you age.  Degenerative Disc Disease is most common in your lower back (lumbar region) and your neck (cervical region).

Spinal Discs are part of your spine.  They are soft compressible discs that separate the bones (vertebrae) that make up your spine.  They are to your spine as shocks are to your car:  They absorb the shock for the spine allowing it to flex, bend and twist.

Causes for disc damage are:

  1. Osteoarthritis:  which is the breakdown of the tissue that protects and cushions your joints.
  2. Herniated disc, an abnormal bulge or breaking open of a spinal disc.
  3. Spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal can (the open space in which houses your spinal cord).
There are many causes for Degenerative Disc Disease that come from age to sudden injury.  
As we age our spinal discs break down which can lead to loss of fluid in your discs.  This will reduce the ability for your discs to absorb shocks as well by making the discs less flexible.  

Tiny tears or cracks in the outer layer of the disc causes the disc to break open.  Inside each disc there is jellylike material that is forced out through the tears or cracks which cause the disc to bulge, break open or break into fragments.  People who smoke, do heavy physical work or are more likely to have symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease.

I have a extruded herniated disc at C6, C6, C7 (For those who don't remember C is for Cervical region) that was caused by the sudden injury of a car accident.  This particular injury is when the "jellylike" material is forced out of the disc.  I did not have any pain for the first three weeks and then it was like putting your sweet child to bed one night to have them wake up as a teenager.  It caused extreme pain, numbness or tingling in my right fingers that lead to the right hand and eventually to the entire arm.  

Symptoms are different for different people.  Some of the same injuries will cause different degrees of pain.  If the cervical region is affected than will, more often than not, affect the harm.  When the lumbar region is affected than the pain may be in the back, buttock or leg.  

I know that some days I would not experience any pain but numbness or tingling was extreme.  Other days it would be the opposite.  If I slept a certain way it was worse or if I turned my neck suddenly it would cause symptoms.  I never knew what activity or movement would cause what symptom as it never made any sense to me.

Premier Back Rehabilitation Center, PC can help you with these type of injuries.  It is essential that you get to a Doctor with the latest technology to discover these injuries as soon as possible.  Don't waste months on treatments that won't help.  Get your answers ASAP!

Tell me about your stories.

Information provided by WebMD