Degenerative disc disease treatment often requires you just to change your lifestyle. You don’t always need to receive the more drastic treatment for degenerative disc disease. To receive more invasive treatments, rely on the top rated experts at your Midtown Manhattan sports injury and pain management clinic to find the best options for how to treat degenerative disc disease. Come to our clinic to get your back pain evaluation and treatment. Meet our pain doctor Febin Melepura M.D. to get the relief you need in the safe, reassuring hands of the best back pain specialists in NYC.
Your spine consists of 33 vertebrae with discs in between each to allow proper cushioning and mobility throughout your back. These discs along with your vertebrae allow your spine to maintain proper posture and carry the weight of your body. Knowing the mechanics of your back and the signs of issues makes early detection and treatment for degenerative disc disease more successful. That’s how an experienced Manhattan team of sports and pain management specialists can help.
The discs between your vertebrae are made up of concentric sheets of collagen fibers. This surrounds the inner core, which is made up of a protein gel with cushioning fibers enclosed. Increased stress and injury causes breakdown of the outer layer, and the inner layer can leak out. This outcome reduces flexibility, puts pressure on surrounding nerves and allows bone on bone contact, leading to pain and eventual degenerative disc disease treatments.
Causes for Degenerative Disc Disease
Your degenerative disc disease treatment differs, depending on the cause of your problems. Open and honest communication with your pain specialist helps pinpoint the nature of your back pain and the best possible treatment for degenerative disc disease.
Potential causes of degenerative disc disease include:
- Osteoarthritis. As you age, wear and tear of the cartilage puts more pressure on your discs.
- Herniated discs. Injury or trauma causes some discs to bulge and herniate.
- Spinal stenosis. Narrowing of your spinal canal, due to bone growth or weakening discs, adds pressure to the other discs.
- Spondylolisthesis. Poor posture, repetitive motion or injury causes one vertebrae to slip in front of another.
- Scoliosis. Discs can degenerate in a lopsided fashion, causing the spine to curve.
Symptoms Direct Your Doctor to Best Treat Degenerative Disc Disease
Symptoms may be mild or severe. They may come and go or become persistent and chronic. Symptoms include:
- Pain from leaking discs or bone growths that apply pressure on neighboring nerves
- Neck pain; if leaking or damaged discs occur in the first eight vertebrae, it’s called cervical degenerative disc disease
- Shoulder pain resulting from irritation or damage to nerves and discs, where the pain radiates toward your shoulder, also called cervical radiculopathy
- Hand pain and numbness resulting from referred pain in your neck
- Movement that becomes painful
- Back pain, especially in your lower back if the vertebrae at the end of your spine are compromised
- Hip pain, another form of lumbar radiculopathy from radiating nerve root pain
- Leg pain or sciatica, occurring when the largest nerve in your leg becomes pinched and inflamed, causing pain when sitting, standing or walking
- Normal daily activities becoming difficult to perform
It’s hard to determine when your pain is from overuse and when more extensive degenerative disc disease treatment may be required. You should definitely consult your NYC physician if your pain gets worse for no obvious reason, especially if rest and over-the-counter medication doesn’t provide relief. If numbness and tingling continues or you become unable to move part of your body, call for an appointment. If you start to lose control of your bowels or bladder, seek medical attention soon.
Diagnosis to Prepare for Degenerative Disc Treatments
Certain individuals have a greater risk of developing degenerative disc disease. If you’re obese or a smoker, or you have a job doing heavy lifting, your chances increase. Your New York City sports medicine and pain specialist considers these and other information from:
- A complete and extensive medical history
- Physical exam
- Range-of-motion tests
- Looking for areas of tenderness and nerve-related changes, such as numbness, weakness and tingling
- Checking for other conditions, such as fractures, tumors or infection
- Imaging tests
How to Treat Degenerative Disc Disease
Treatments, as with any degenerative disease, focus mainly on symptom relief and slowing the progression of the disease. Your Manhattan pain specialist may suggest several treatments at once, including:
- Physical therapy
- Exercises for stretching and strengthening
- Cold and heat treatments
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Careful and gentle manual manipulation
- Epidural steroid injections
- Rarely, surgery to remove damaged discs, fuse your spine for strength or replace a damaged disc with an artificial substitute
Aftercare for Degenerative Disc Disease Treatments
As your pain subsides and mobility improves, your NYC pain specialist may recommend continued physical therapy, pain medication or a brace for your neck or back to relieve any further flare-ups. Avoiding nicotine and excessive alcohol helps keep discomfort minimized.
Drinking plenty of water, taking daily walks and investing in ergonomic furniture helps sustain your recovery and keeps you on a more comfortable lifestyle path. While some of your fitness and sports activities may be curtailed, you should be able to continue with a modified lifestyle for a long time.
Do you have any questions about the degenerative disc disease treatment we offer in NYC? Would you like to schedule an appointment with the best rated back pain management doctor Febin Melepura MD of NYC pain management clinic? Please contact our office for consultation with the top pain relief specialist in Midtown Manhattan.