Orthopedic Treatment For Degenerative Disc Disease

by Administrator 21. May 2015 08:07

Degenerative Disc Disease refers to the degeneration of one or more intervertebral discs of the spine. The discs are cushion paddings between the vertebrae of the spine acting as shock absorbers, which allow the spine to flex, twist and bend. With increasing age the discs can start losing elasticity and flexibility. Degenerative Disc Disease can occur throughout the spine but is more prone to the lumbar and the cervical region.

Causes

  • Aging
  • Trauma and injuries leading to Herniated Disc
  • Falling
  • Repetitive actions putting pressure on the spine
  • Loss of fluid in the discs
  • Cracks in the annulus or the outer layer of the disc
  • Bone spurs or osteophytes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Symptoms

  • Pain in the lower back, neck and leg that limits routine activities
  • Pain in thighs while walking
  • Tingling sensation
  • Pain in upper spine that goes in arms, shoulders, and hands
  • Weakness in the knees

Diagnosis

In order to diagnose Degenerative Disc Disease, the orthopedic doctor may conduct a physical examination. He may ask the medical history and look for tenderness, numbness in the nerves or any changes in the reflexes. The doctor may also check the possibility of fractures, tumors and infections. The doctor can prescribe certain imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI, CT scan, etc. to diagnose the exact cause and devise a treatment plan.

Treatment

Non-surgical treatment

  • Ice or heat packs: The doctor may recommend applying ice or heat packs to the affected area.
  • Medications: Anti-inflammatory medications can be prescribed as they offer relief from pain and reduce swelling.
  • Limit activities: The orthopedic surgeon may advise you to modify activities to avoid aggravating the problem.
  • Physical therapy: The patient may be recommend to undergo physiotherapy under the guidance of a professional. He may get relief from the strengthening and stretching exercises.

Surgical treatment

In case, the condition is severe and the non-surgical methods fail to provide any relief, the orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgical treatment. The options include Anterior Cervical Discectomy with fusion, Intervertebral Disc Arthroplasty, Intervertebral Disc Annuloplasty, etc. During surgery, the vertebrae of the spine are fused together to stabilize the spine. The spinal fusion is performed using rods and screws in the spine and the adjacent bone graft.

Surgery is followed by post-surgical care and rehabilitation. It is advised that the patient visit the orthopedic surgeon regularly for follow check ups.

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