Degenerative Disc Disease

Orin Atlas, MD, FAAOS -  - Orthopedic Surgeon

Atlas Spine

Orin Atlas, MD, FAAOS

Orthopedic Surgeon & Spine Specialist located in Hainesport, NJ

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a common part of the aging process that can cause significant spinal pain and disability if left untreated. To find relief from pain associated with DDD, visit Atlas Spine in Hainesport, New Jersey. Orthopedic surgeon, Orin Atlas, MD, FAAOS, is a spine care specialist who provides the best conservative and surgical treatments available for DDD so you can feel comfortable again. To schedule a visit, call or book online today.

Degenerative Disc Disease

What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease is the medical term for a condition that causes the intervertebral discs between your spinal vertebrae to wear out over time. This degeneration can be caused by normal wear-and-tear from daily movements and physical activities, osteoporosis, and genetic predisposition. Disc degeneration is a normal part of the aging process, though not everyone experiences pain along with degenerative changes.

As the discs in your spine wear down, there is less space between the vertebrae which can lead to joint pain, nerve pain, stiffness, and disability. If left untreated, the pain may become severe and your ability to move can be significantly limited.

What are the symptoms of degenerative disc disease?

In addition to back or neck pain, degenerative disc disease can also cause:

  • Poor posture
  • Nerve pain
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Hunched posture
  • Herniated discs
  • Vertebral fractures

Pain associated with degenerative disc disease can be worse when sitting or after bending, twisting, or leaning forward. If your condition progresses and damages the nerves surrounding your spine, you can experience nerve pain in your arms, hands, legs, or foot and may notice muscle weakness, especially in your legs.

How is degenerative disc disease diagnosed?

To diagnose degenerative disc disease, Dr. Atlas performs a thorough physical exam and consultation. He asks about your symptoms and the location of your pain before examining your back. If appropriate, Dr. Atlas orders imaging, like X-rays or an MRI, and additional testing, like a bone scan or electrodiagnostics.

Based on his findings from your exam and any additional testing, Dr. Atlas diagnoses your condition, explains the severity, and outlines your treatment options.

How is degenerative disc disease treated?

Dr. Atlas aims to take a conservative approach for degenerative disc disease whenever possible. If you have osteoporosis that is contributing to your symptoms, he recommends appropriate nutritional supplements or medications to support bone health. Other conservative treatments to relieve pain include acupuncture, chiropractic, and physical therapy.

For progressive degenerative disc disease cases, Dr. Atlas performs spinal fusion surgeries and artificial disc implementation to stabilize your spine and prevent permanent nerve damage. Rehab after surgery includes physical therapy and appropriate medications to manage your pain and support your healing so you can enjoy greater function of your spine.

To schedule an exam for your back or neck, call Atlas Spine or schedule a visit using the online tool now.