Degenerative Disk Disease

Spinal disks sit between the vertebrae in your spine, allowing you to bend and twist with ease. It is natural for these disks to wear down as you age, but degenerative disk disease is when these regular changes cause significant spinal pain. To further understand the condition and how to treat it, it is necessary to understand causes, symptoms and diagnoses.


Doctors may explain spinal disks as the shock absorbers of the spinal column. When you are born, these disks are mainly comprised of water, which provides significant cushioning for spinal movement. Unfortunately, as people age, the cushioning and soft center of these disks can change, resulting in pain. Part of what causes pain is that these disks dry out, becoming thinner and offering little cushion. Another cause of pain is when these disks crack from everyday movements, exposing the nerves. Cracks may also cause the soft core of the disk to slip or herniate, colliding with other nerves.


Symptoms of degenerative disk disease involve the persistence of pain in several ways. For instance, you may feel pain in your lower back, upper thighs or buttocks that get worse when you sit and eases when you stand and walk around. The pain may last for several days or a few months.


Diagnosing degenerative disk disease is not an overly complicated process. Your doctor will start by taking a medical history and discussing the origin of your pain. They may also ask you to perform a series of movements to identify which positions cause you discomfort. If they find a need, your doctor may order one or more of several diagnostic tests, like an X-ray or MRI.


Your primary care physician may treat the condition with a combination of medication and physical therapy, attempting to get control over your pain level. In severe situations, a doctor may recommend surgical intervention.

Many people are uncomfortable with the prospect of taking medications or undergoing invasive surgery, especially when dealing with spinal surgery. For people who are more interested in a noninvasive approach, consider chiropractic therapy. A doctor of chiropractic can, using spinal adjustments and manipulations, help calm the pain of degenerative disk disease.

Are you concerned that you have a spinal disk disorder? If so, you may want to schedule an appointment with a chiropractor. A qualified doctor of chiropractic can examine your spine and take X-rays before offering a noninvasive treatment approach.