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Procedure - Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a condition that weakens of one or more vertebral discs which normally act as a cushion between the vertebrae. This can occur anywhere along the spine and affects more than three million Americans per year. Degenerative disc disease can develop as a natural part of the aging process but may also result from an injury to the back or neck.

Typically, this condition occurs when small tears appear in the disc wall called the annulus. Tears in the lamellae are referred to as annular tears, more often called a “torn disc.” As the disc degenerates, it starts to lose many of its properties that make it an effective shock absorber.

What Are the Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease?

There may be no symptoms present for degenerative disc disease. In some people, annular tears can cause pain and spasms. Just like other tissues in our bodies, the disc heals over several weeks by creating scar tissue however scar tissue is not as strong as the original disc wall.

Why Should I Seek Medical Help for Disc Degeneration?

Over time, with repeated neck or back injuries, the process of tearing and scarring may weaken the disc wall. As people age, the center of the disc becomes damaged and loses water content. Fluid is needed to keep the disc functioning as a shock absorber and, without it, the nucleus collapses and the vertebrae above and below the damaged disc slide closer together. This improper alignment causes the facet joints (the areas where the vertebrae touch) to twist due to an unnatural position. In time, the incorrect positioning of the vertebrae can lead to bone spurs or osteophytes.

If bone spurs grow into the spinal canal, they may pinch the spinal cord and nerves and cause a condition called spinal stenosis. If the outer annulus tears and a piece of the center moves through the tear, a disc herniation can pinch the spinal cord and nerves causing pain, numbness, and/or tingling.

How Is Disc Degeneration Managed?

No matter the cause, getting back pain under control requires exercise to increase the strength and flexibility of muscles that surround the spine. Exercise increases blood flow to the back, which nourishes joints and muscles with oxygen and nutrients while clearing away inflammatory waste products.

Treatment options to go along with exercises to increase back strength include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Medications: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or pain relievers
  • Surgery: artificial disc replacement, spinal fusion
  • Heat and cold therapy
  • Spinal mobilization

If you suspect disc degeneration anywhere in your spine, or you have ongoing back pain, contact our spine specialists in northern Utah today.

Loran  Archuleta, FNP-C, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic at McKay

Archuleta, Loran, FNP-C
4401 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden, UT
801-732-5900
Jeffrey  Aucoin, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic at McKay

Aucoin, Jeffrey, MD
4401 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden, UT
801-732-5900
Kurt  Bangerter, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic Layton, Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic at McKay

Bangerter, Kurt, MD
1916 N. 700 W.
Layton, UT
801-732-5900
Mark  Bennett, PA-C, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic Layton, Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic at McKay

Bennett, Mark, PA-C
1916 N. 700 W.
Layton, UT
801-732-5900
Timothy  Houden, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic at McKay

Houden, Timothy, MD
4401 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden, UT
801-732-5900
Kristy  Janssen, PA-C, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic at McKay

Janssen, Kristy, PA-C
4401 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden, UT
801-732-5900
James  Joseph, PA-C, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic at McKay

Joseph, James, PA-C
4401 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden, UT
801-732-5900
Scott  McKay, PA-C, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic at McKay

McKay, Scott, PA-C
4401 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden, UT
801-732-5900
Brad  Melville, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic at McKay

Melville, Brad, MD
4401 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden, UT
801-732-5900
Brian  Morgan, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic Layton

Morgan, Brian, MD
1916 N. 700 W.
Layton, UT
801-732-5900
Paige  Shelton, NP-C, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic Layton, Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic at McKay

Shelton, Paige, NP-C
1916 N. 700 W.
Layton, UT
801-732-5900
Douglas  Shepherd, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic Layton

Shepherd, Douglas, MD
1916 N. 700 W.
Layton, UT
801-732-5900
Bryson  Smith, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic Layton

Smith, Bryson, MD
1916 N. 700 W.
Layton, UT
801-732-5900
Randall  Steed, PA-C, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic at McKay

Steed, Randall, PA-C
4401 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden, UT
801-732-5900
Robyn  Vaughan, FNP-C, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic Layton

Vaughan, Robyn, FNP-C
1916 N. 700 W.
Layton, UT
801-732-5900
Blake  Welling, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic at McKay

Welling, Blake, MD
4401 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden, UT
801-732-5900
Dennis  Winters, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic at McKay

Winters, Dennis, MD
4401 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden, UT
801-732-5900
Francis  Yubero, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation,  Utah Spine Care - Ogden Clinic at McKay

Yubero, Francis, MD
4401 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden, UT
801-732-5900