Degenerative disc disease
Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of low back and neck pain, and also one of the most misunderstood.
Simply put, degenerative disc disease refers to symptoms of back or neck pain caused by wear-and-tear on a spinal disc. In some cases, degenerative disc disease also causes weakness, numbness, and hot, shooting pains in the arms or legs (radicular pain). Degenerative disc disease typically consists of a low-level chronic pain with intermittent episodes of more severe pain.
Painful disc degeneration is common in the neck (cervical spine) and lower back (lumbar spine). These areas of the spine undergo the most motion and stress and are most susceptible to disc degeneration.
Causes of Degenerative Disc-Disease
Your spinal disks are made up of a soft inner core and a tough outer wall. The disks change in ways that may cause degenerative disk disease, such as:
Dry out. When you're born, the disks in your spine are mostly made up of water. As you age, they lose water and get thinner. Flatter disks can't absorb shocks as well. The water loss also means less cushion or padding between your vertebrae. This can lead to other problems in your spine that may cause pain.
Crack. The stress of everyday movements and minor injuries over the years can cause tiny tears in the outer wall, which contains nerves. Any tears near the nerves can become painful. And if the wall breaks down, the disk's softcore may push through the cracks. The disk may bulge, or slip out of place, which is called a slipped or herniated disk. It can affect nearby nerves.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc-Disease
You'll probably feel a sharp or constant pain in your back and neck. Your exact symptoms depend on where the weak disk is and other changes it has caused.
Some of the most common symptoms of DDD include pain that:
- Primarily affects the lower back
- Might extend to legs and buttocks
- Extends from neck to arms
- Worsens after twisting or bending
- Can be worse from sitting
- Comes and goes in as little as a few days and up to several months
People with DDD might experience less pain after walking and exercise. DDD can also cause weakened leg muscles, as well as numbness in your arms or leg.
Treatment of Degenerative Disc-Disease
Biologic Stem Cell Therapy Injections into the disc may calm the inflammation, reduce pain, and may help repair the flattened, brittle, or protruding disc. It is a better alternative than surgical removal of the disc or fusion surgery.
Unlike other tissues in the body, the spine's discs have a very limited blood supply. In other words, a disc affected by the degenerative effects perhaps related to aging and/or wear and tear may not be able to repair itself. Stem cells are unique in their ability to help repair the damage. They can be inserted (via injection) into a damaged disc to help promote healing.
Stem cells can regenerate the formation of fibrous connective tissue (eg, ligaments) making them ideal for helping to repair soft tissue damage caused by degenerative disc disease. The highest level of stem cell concentration is found in adult bone marrow (eg, hip bone).