Some diseases are part of getting older. As we age, our spinal discs go through changes. They become more narrow and their normal job of acting to absorb shock for the spine becomes compromised, transferring it to other parts of your back. It can happen anywhere within the spine, but most commonly it happens in the lower back and the neck area. Our NYC orthopedic spine surgeon, Dr. Andrew Casden, is highly skilled and experienced in treating degenerative disc disease. We want you to know the facts about it so that you are better prepared to address it if it becomes a concern.
As the disease progresses, it can lead to the formation of bone spurs as well as enlarged ligaments. A narrowing of the ares for the spinal cord and nerves may occur and in some cases, the spine can become deformed. The goal of our NYC orthopedic spine surgeon is to diagnose and treat it before it reaches that level. Symptoms are not always present. Some people have no pain whatsoever. Symptoms to be aware of, however, include pain in the back or neck, arm, leg, or even the buttock region. It all depends upon where the affected disc or discs are located. Often, the pain becomes more severe when exerting yourself by reaching up, bending over, or twisting. Typically, the pain becomes more severe over time.
If you are experiencing pain in any of those areas, it is a good idea to make an appointment to meet with our NYC orthopedic spine surgeon. He will take a thorough medical history and perform a physical exam as part of the diagnostic process. X-rays, and possibly MRI or CT scans may be employed also to make a determination. If it turns out that you do have degenerative disc disease, Dr. Casden will discuss your treatment options with you.
The good news is that noninvasive options can usually be quite effective. Depending on your unique circumstances, our NYC orthopedic spine surgeon may recommend exercise, physical therapy, a change in your daily routine, or anti-inflammatory drugs. These treatments will often lessen your pain significantly or perhaps even eliminate it completely. If surgery is deemed necessary, you may be able to benefit from new minimally invasive procedures that allow for a quicker recovery time.