Degenerative Disc Disease


Degenerative disc disease is when one or more of the discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column deteriorates or breaks down.  This disease is an age-related condition that happens naturally and may lead to pain. Others have explained feeling weakness, numbness, and pain that radiates down the leg.

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For Example, unlike the healthy disc, when discs begin to degenerate they no long offer a cushion between the vertebrae. Additionally, as degenerative disc disease worsens the discs begin to fuse. That is to say, this reduces flexibility and may cause impingements for nerves carrying signals throughout your body.

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What causes degenerative disc disease?

Degeneration occurs because of age-related wear-and-tear on a spinal disc, and may be accelerated by injury, health and lifestyle factors, and possibly by genetic predisposition to joint pain or musculoskeletal disorders. Numerous factors may initiate degenerative processes, which most commonly affect the nucleus pulposus and ultimately influence the biomechanics of the whole spine. A person with spinal degeneration may experience stiffness in the back upon awakening.  They may feel pain after walking or standing for a long time. Similarly, spinal stenosis related to congenital narrowing of the bony canal predisposes some people to pain related to disc disease. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

What are the four stages of Degenerative Disc Disease?

Stage One

Firstly, degenerative disc disease may go unnoticed by the individual. The loss of the natural curvature of the spine can indicate the beginning of degenerative disc disease. Pain may not be apparent, but extra pressure is being placed on the spine which can lead to more rapid aging of the spine, nerves, joints, etc.

Stage Two

Secondly, the degradation of discs becomes more apparent in the second stage. They may look thinner, and it is common to see deformations in the bone. To clarify, these new deformities are commonly bone spurs. The spinal canal may become more narrow and the curvature of the spine will become more unnatural. Stage two is often where you will begin to notice some pain and discomfort.

Stage Three

Thirdly, stage three is marked by a more extreme change in the posture and curvature of the spine.  Additionally, you may also recognize more pain and loss of mobility. Nerve damage is common and scar tissue typically begins to form. Discs are even thinner than before, which can sometimes cause even more deformation of the bones.

Stage Four

Finally, stage four of degenerative disc disease is the most severe and is typically considered irreversible. Moreover, at this stage discs are at their thinnest or gone altogether. The flexibility of the spine is extremely limited and pain is often considerable. Nerve damage can be severe and the bones of the spine may even begin to fuse together.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20691″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Can degenerative disc disease ever heal?

Unfortunately no, degenerative disc disease cannot heal on its own. However, Carolinas Pain Center offers a number of treatment options. These treatments focus on reducing pain and allowing you to return to normal daily activities.

In conclusion, your level of pain may varies based on a multitude of factors, especially your stage of degeneration.  Early detection and early intervention is the key, contact the pain specialists at Carolinas Pain Center if you are experiencing back pain. The sooner you address this degeneration issue you will be gin to find relief and return to a more normal life.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20624″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” link=”https://www.carolinaspaincenter.com/category/pain/back-pain/”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]



Natasa Kos Lidija Gradisnik Tomaz Velnar .2019 Dec;73(6):421-424. doi: 10.5455/medarh.2019.73.421-424.
Michele C Battié Anand B Joshi Laura E Gibbons ISSLS Degenerative Spinal Phenotypes Group.2019 Nov 1;44(21):1523-1529. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000003103. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31135628/