An Overview of Degenerative Disc Disease
Most people have heard about Degenerative Disc Disease, but few people (actually, very few people), know anything about it. That’s not surprising. Unless you or someone close to you has suffered from the effects of this painful and debilitating illness, the words mean very little.
And yet, you should care more about Degenerative Disc Disease. In fact, you should want to know as much as you can about it and how it can impact your life. The truth is that, as you get older, you become much more vulnerable to – and much more likely to be affected by – a troubling and very painful Degenerative Disc Disease.
What you need to know is that Degenerative Disc Disease is really just a condition that develops to the discs in your spine as you begin to age … they start to wear down and “deteriorate” as the direct result of your aging and other factors. For many people, this “wear and tear” is thought to be normal. It can also be painful.
Normal wear and tear is actually brought about by physical activity or heavy, long term smoking or obesity or other health concerns and issues that lead directly to the problem medical professionals call Degenerative Disc Disease. The “Disease” usually manifests itself with the onset of pain, either in the back (generally the lower part of the back) or in the neck. That pain can, over time, become excruciating.
There are a number of “variations” to the disease. The standard or basic form of the disease is known simply as Degenerative Disc Disease. As mentioned earlier, it results in pain to the lower back or to the neck, sometimes bearable, often severe. There is another form of this illness known as a Herniated Disc. In this manifestation, one or more of your spinal discs bulge abnormally or even break open. The pain can be enormous, extremely debilitating and may require surgery as a cure.
Osteoarthritis is another form of Degenerative Disc Disease. This ailment results in a breakdown of the cartilage in a specific area of your body. The pain and discomfort can be so overwhelming that it “knocks you off of your feet” and, in most cases, surgery is required.
There are a number of other types of Degenerative Disc Disease, as well, but the ones mentioned here are the most prominent, the most common … and, unfortunately, the most painful and debilitating. Importantly, when diagnosed early, most Degenerative Disc Disease can be treated – and controlled – with the use of prescription drugs.
As you might expect, these drugs are extremely powerful, which is why they require prescriptions and the approval of a physician … but they do work. However, there are many, many cases where the “Disease” degenerates to such an extent that it can no longer be controlled by pills. In such instances, surgery becomes necessary.
Fortunately, the success rate for surgeries performed to overcome Degenerative Disc Disease is very high, the procedures are common … and many surgeons have the requisite skills to perform the operation.
Once done, your discs should be healthy again, able to act as “shock absorbers” that allow your spine to flex, bend and twist. And that should make you very happy.