One of the major, and most misunderstood, causes of low back is Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). Due to its name many patients consider DDD a progressively threatening disease, but it’s a degenerative condition and not a disease.
The medical community even disagrees with the terminology as medical professionals do not agree with what the phrase actually describes. It’s not really a disease, but more of a degenerative condition like arthritis.
What exactly is DDD?
DDD is a condition where the discs of the spine start losing water. Normally, water makes up 80% of each intervertebral disc. As an individual ages, water starts to disappear and degeneration may occur. It also may occur due to repetitive stresses or genetics.
Most DDD is not actually painful. However, it may actually cause daily chronic back pain that is debilitating.
Degenerative Disc Disease results in pain for the patient generally by either inflammation or abnormal micromotion instability. The lumbar disc is a strong and well-designed structure of the spine.
The disc acts as a shock absorber between vertebrae. It is often likened to a “jelly donut.” A series of bands form a tough outer layer with the inner portion containing a softer, jelly-like medium.
- The outer layer of the lumbar disc has significant innervation, an can be a rather significant source of back pain for the patient. Especially if there is a tear in the layer and it reaches the surface, where the nerves can become highly sensitized.
- The “Jelly” layer in the middle has no nerve endings and cannot feel pain. If the outer layer develops a tear and some of the inner jelly squeezes out, it may pinch a nerve root and lead to sciatica.
Pain is produced from the degenerative condition of a damaged disc. The term “degenerative” is the main source of confusion of the disorder, as it would seem to imply that it will worsen with age. That is not necessarily true, and there is not always a correlation between the severity of the degeneration and how much pain is experienced.
With symptomatic degenerative disc disease, there are quite a few pain management options available. This may include physical therapy, chiropractic manipulations, medication management, interventional procedures and more.
Las Vegas pain management doctors offer exceptional results for those with degenerative disc disease, with over 90% of those with the condition being able to avoid surgery. The Nevada Pain Network connects those in pain with pain management Las Vegas trusts, including Henderson, Summerlin and surrounding areas.
For those in need of pain relief from back pain, call (702) 323-0553. Over 50 insurances are being accepted, including Workers Compensation, PPO’s, Personal Injury and self pay!