Degenerative Disc Disease

Texas Spine Consultants

Orthopedic Spine Surgeons located in Addison, TX & Plano, TX

All the joints in your body are susceptible to the wear and tear that leads to arthritis, including the joints in your spine, which is referred to as degenerative disc disease. Michael Ware Hennessy, MD, at Texas Spine Consultants, LLP in Addison, Texas, is an orthopedic spine expert who specializes in the diagnosis and management of degenerative disc disease. Call the office today or schedule an appointment using the online booking tool.

Degenerative Disc Disease Q & A

What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease, also known as spondylosis, is a chronic condition that affects the discs between each of your vertebrae. Like the cartilage in between the joints in your knees and hips, the discs that separate the vertebrae in your spine dry out and shrink so there’s less cushioning in between your bones.

Without the cushioning of the disc, your spinal bones rub together and may lead to the development of bone spurs, spinal stenosis, or a pinched nerve. The degeneration can occur in any part of your spine, but most often affects the lumbar spine or lower back.

What are the symptoms of degenerative disc disease?

While almost everyone experiences disc degeneration as they get older, not everyone develops symptoms. Common symptoms of degenerative disc disease include:

  • Back pain
  • Radiating pain to your buttocks, thighs, shoulders, or arms
  • Pain that worsens with activity, such as twisting or walking
  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • Leg muscle weakness


The degree of the pain you experience with degenerative disc disease may vary from a dull, annoying ache to chronic disabling pain.

How do I know if I have degenerative disc disease?

Dr. Hennessy determines if your back pain is related to degenerative disc disease after an examination and review of your symptoms. He may also recommend an MRI to view your spine and the health of your discs to assess the degree of your degeneration.

How is degenerative disc disease treated?

Dr. Hennessy takes an individual approach to care and develops a treatment plan for your degenerative disc disease based on your symptoms, other underlying issues related to your spine, and overall health. In most cases, Dr. Hennessy recommends less invasive treatments before turning to surgery

Your treatment plan may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Weight loss
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Heat and cold application


If you’re unable to control your pain with conservative measures or your pain worsens and is affecting your quality of life, Dr. Hennessy may suggest surgery. The type of surgery you need depends on the severity of your degenerative disc disease and the extent of nerve involvement.

Dr. Hennessy specializes in minimally invasive surgeries, and if appropriate can perform the advanced XLIF® lateral lumbar interbody fusion to help relieve your pain. The practice also uses Mobi-C® artificial cervical discs, which are designed to replace diseased discs and help you maintain optimum flexibility.  

For management of your back pain and degenerative disc disease, call Texas Spine Consultants, LLP or schedule an appointment using the online booking tool.