Degenerative disc disease is a term used to describe changes that are observed in the spine as we get older. This is the most common cause of back pain and is a natural part of aging.
We all get older and so do the structures in the spine (as well as the rest of your body). Your joints start to degenerate as the cartilage begins to thin out. The intervertebral discs in the spine start to dry and become brittle, becoming less able to absorb shock and this could affect your ability to walk, bend, flex, and twist the spine. These two things together can lead to osteoarthritis, herniated discs or spinal stenosis and dentist Leesburg.
While most times Degenerative disc disease is seen in those who are older it has also been seen in those who are as young as 20 years of age. For those people degenerative disc disease is most likely linked to an injury or overuse due to a sports activity.
While it can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause of degenerative disc disease; you are at an increased risk of developing this condition if any of the following apply to you:
- Obesity – Those who are overweight generally have weaker back muscles. Also this extra weight that is being carried around places more stress on the structures in the back. This causes the back to be more susceptible to an injury such as a herniated disc.
- Smoking – Studies have shown that smoking can have a negative impact on the discs in your spine. The toxins in cigarettes make it harder for the discs to absorb nourishment and fluids from the body.
- Trauma or Injuries – accidents, falls or sports injuries can trigger the degenerative process to start in the structures of your spine – kyphosis definition.
- Age – the older we get the more worn out your discs, facet joints and cartilage become. This would then lead to other back conditions that could cause pain and limit your mobility.
- Hereditary disposition – If you have family members with degenerative disc disease it increases your risk of developing it yourself.
Commonly seen symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease include the following:
- Pain that may worsen if you where to sit or lie down for long periods of time
- Pain that worsens if you try to bend or twist your back
- You may also have pain in your neck, back and extremities
- You may also notice that your pain decreases if you walk or change your position often
- You may also notice weakness or numbness in your back, arms, hands, legs and feet
If you are at all concerned about your back pain, please consult with your doctor. Only they will be able to properly diagnose your condition and set you on the path to a proper treatment that is individually tailored to your specific situation.