Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease isn't actually a disease, but rather a condition in which a damaged disc causes pain.  Each disc has two distinct parts: an outer layer, the anulus fibrosus and a soft, gel-like core, the nucleus pulposus. This jelly like component of the disc contains proteins that can cause the tissues they touch to become swollen and tender. If these proteins leak out to the nerves of the outer layer of the disc, they can cause a great deal of pain.  The anulus contains nerves which become painful if the disc tears.  Degenerative disc conditions can be caused by the drying out of the disc over time, daily activities, sports and traumatic injuries. 

Symptoms usually include

mild pain in the affected area that worsens as pressure is placed on it. Numbness, tingling, and radiating pain may be felt in the arms or legs, depending on the location of the disc degeneration.  In the absence of treatment, symptoms will worsen.  Conservative treatment for bulging discs includes anti-inflammatory medications, ice, heat, and therapy to strengthen the para-spinal musculature.  There are several non-surgical and surgical options that may be discussed with one of our pain management or spine specialists to address ongoing symptoms from this condition.