Degenerative disc disease

Print Article

Degeneration of the discs particularly in the moving sections of the spine (cervical and lumbar levels) is a natural process of aging. This dehydration of the disc material reduces the flexibility and typically the height of the disc.

In most patients the mere presence of degenerative discs is not a problem leading to pain, neurological compression, or other symptoms. However, in a certain number of patients, the disc degeneration leads to spinal "instability," the condition in which the spine is unable to bear the patient's weight or perform its normal functions without disabling pain. In these circumstances, treatments are available to try to reduce the patient's pain.

Cervical disc degenerative disorder can be characterized by neck pain. This neck pain can be most prevalent when the patient is upright or moving the head and can be reduced by lying down or reclining. Often the disc will be associated with osteophytes or bone spurs. They can further reduce movement and lead to nerve compression. The cervical nerve roots innervate the back of the head and neck as well as the arms and hands. If they are affected, the patient could have burning, tingling, numbness, and pain in these areas. Sometimes headaches result from cervical degenerative disc problems.

Lumbar disc degenerative disorder can be associated with low back pain. It would typically be a weight-bearing type of back pain with severe pain on sitting. Standing for any length of time and walking can also be painful, as are bending and lifting. Associated lumbar radiculopathy or nerve root pain can be characterized by burning, numbness, tingling, and pain running from the buttock and low back down the leg.

In patients with multiple degenerative discs and associated pain, it is often difficult to distinguish which disc or discs are the pain generators. In this circumstance, additional, more invasive types of testing may be required.

There are different alternatives to surgery available for patients with degenerative disc disease and pain. Avoidance of painful behaviors including reclining or kneeling rather than sitting, not lifting in a bent position, and use of a corset brace are all options to try to reduce tensions and weight bearing by the affected lumbar disc. Patients who have degenerative discs in the lumbar spine can aid themselves by losing weight, building the back and stomach muscles through an exercise program, swimming, yoga and Pilates, and other core strengthening programs.

• • •

Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene. (208) 966-4425.

Print Article

Read More Healthy Community

GEORGE BALLING: Our own predispositions

May 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press PAID CONTENT Tasting wine is an interesting business. Whether it is wine professionals like us who taste through many wines a week as part of our job, or for wine enthusiasts and consumers for who...

Comments

Read More

DR. DONALD JOHNSON: Silent strokes and small brain lesions

May 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press PAID CONTENT A study done at Germany’s Dresden University Stroke Center showed that patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may experience an increased risk for silent stroke and small ...

Comments

Read More

DR. WENDY CUNNINGHAM: Five things that healthy people do every day

May 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press PAID CONTENT 1. They believe daily movement is mandatory. Healthy people exercise at least 20 minutes per day, giving them better heart health and increased blood flow for good health all around. ...

Comments

Read More

SHEREE DIBIASE, PT: Get balanced

May 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press PAID CONTENT Do you ever feel out of balance? Do you ever wonder why so much pain and suffering happens to those we love and care for and ourselves? The body-self craves balance. It will go to gre...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2018 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X