What Are My Options if I Have Degenerative Disc Disease?

If you have degenerative disc disease, you know how awful it can feel and how desperate you can get when all you want is relief from the pain. This is a common experience for Americans —  one study showed that one-third of adults ages 40-59 have evidence of degenerative disc disease.

Getting relief depends on your individual case, what caused the condition, and the doctors you ask to treat you. At Texas Spine Consultants in Addison, Texas, we want to help you get the relief you’re looking for, and we have several treatment options available to help, depending on your situation.

What is degenerative disc disease?

Your spinal cord is designed as a series of vertebrae with discs in between them to absorb shock. When these discs begin to wear down, dry out, or shrink, there is less cushion between the bones, so they can sometimes rub together, which may lead to pinched nerves, bone spurs, or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal).

This can happen anywhere in your spine, but most often occurs in the lower back area. Symptoms do not always develop with degenerative disc disease, (many people have the condition with no pain), but when symptoms do show up, here’s what to look for:

A number of treatment options

The goal of your treatment plan is to ease your pain and stop any damage to your spine that may be occurring. Dr. Michael Hennessy takes an individualized approach to each case, so you have a treatment plan that works for you.

Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen are sometimes enough to fight inflammation and ease your swelling and pain. Stronger pain medications — including steroid shots — are sometimes necessary as well. Physical therapy is the next step, with specific movements and exercises designed to help you lose weight and strengthen the muscles in your back to better support the spine.

If these more conservative measures don’t control your pain to an acceptable level, the next option is surgery. Dr. Hennessy specializes in minimally invasive procedures, which could involve removing part of a damaged disc, performing an XLIF® lateral lumbar interbody fusion, or replacing an entire disc with a Mobi-C® artificial cervical disc.

Whatever your level of back pain, contact us at Texas Spine Consultants for relief. We work with you to find the best treatment plan that lets you live your life pain-free!

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