Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of low back pain, and also one of the most misunderstood. Many patients diagnosed with low back pain caused by degenerative disc disease are left wondering exactly what this diagnosis means for them. Common questions that are often on patients’ minds include:
• If I have low back pain from degenerative disc disease in my thirties, how much worse will it become with age?
• Will the degenerative disc disease become a crippling condition? Will I end up in a wheelchair?
• Should I restrict my activities?
• Will the degenerative disc disease spread to other parts of the spine?
• Will the low back pain from degenerative disc disease cause any permanent damage?
A large part of many patients’ confusion is that the term “degenerative disc disease” sounds like a progressive, very threatening condition. However, this condition is not strictly degenerative and is not really a disease. Part of the confusion probably comes from the term “degenerative”, which implies to most people that the symptoms will get worse with age. The term applies to the disc degenerating, but does not apply to the symptoms. While it is true that the disc degeneration is likely to progress over time, the low back pain from degenerative disc disease usually does not get worse and in fact usually gets better over time. Our office specializes in treating disc degeneration and speeding up the recovery of patients with back pain due to this condition. Visit our website at www.southingtonchiropractor.com for more information.
Another source of confusion is probably created by the term “disease”, which is actually a misnomer. Degenerative disc disease is not really a disease at all, but rather a degenerative condition that at times can produce pain from a damaged disc. Disc degeneration is a natural part of aging and over time all people will exhibit changes in their discs consistent with a greater or lesser degree of degeneration. However, not all people will develop symptoms. In fact, finally, many patients are confused about degenerative disc disease because many medical professionals don’t agree on what the phrase describes.
In practical terms, this means that few practitioners agree on what does and does not constitute a diagnosis of degenerative disc disease. Even medical textbooks don’t usually attempt to give an accurate description. Therefore, while many practitioners believe that degenerative disc disease is a common cause of low back pain in young adults, very few agree on the implications.
i have DDD in 3 lumbar discs and am currently undergoing tests to see if i have it in my neck. i am in constant pain, 24/7, from base of skull to base of spine, siatica down both legs and nerve pains down both arms to fingers, aswell as a recent diagnosis of nerve root compression. i am 26 years old. i say to all this "medical professionals" who disagree with what DDD is, to pay me a visit. i would be more than happy to go into great detail, about the amount of pain i suffer everyday!