Services / Degenerative Disc Disease

misc image

About Degenerative Disc Disease at Cascade Orthopedics

Your spine undergoes normal wear-and-tear through the act of living. When you experience pain as a result, you have degenerative disc disease. At Cascade Orthopaedics, the experienced orthopaedic team diagnose the reason for changes in your discs and offer treatment to help you find relief from back pain. Call the Auburn or Bonney Lake, Washington, office today or reach out online to get started with nonsurgical or surgical treatment for degenerative disc disease.

Degenerative Disc Disease Q & A

What is degenerative disc disease?

Your spinal discs are soft, gelatinous cushions that sit between the vertebrae, or bones, of your spine. They provide shock absorption and give your spine its mobility to bend and twist. When the discs deteriorate, it can cause serious back pain. 

Degenerated discs have thinned, meaning there is less space between the vertebrae. Over time, the area becomes more and more narrow and results in greater pain. 

Herniated or bulging discs, in which some of the soft material of the disc has leaked out, can irritate nearby nerves causing numbness, tingling, and weakness in your legs or shoulders. 

Who is at risk of developing degenerative disc disease?

As you age, you’re likely to experience some disc degeneration. However, not everyone goes on to experience painful symptoms.

Risk factors for degenerative disc disease include: 

  • Obesity
  • Bone spurs
  • Smoking
  • Repeated heavy lifting
  • Prior acute injury to the back
  • Weak core muscles
  • Prolonged sitting and poor posture

If you have a family history of back pain and musculoskeletal disorders, you’re also at greater risk. 

What are the symptoms of degenerative disc disease?

Sciatica causes radiating pain and tingling from the lower back into the buttocks, thigh, and sometimes lower leg. 

In severe cases, you may experience a loss of balance and coordination. Radiculopathy, a cascade of symptoms that include pain, stiffness, and worsening of pain when sitting, lifting, or bending, is another indicator of degenerative disc disease. You may get relief when you lie down or stand up and walk. 

What types of treatments help degenerative disc disease?

At first, Cascade Orthopaedics uses nonsurgical treatments to relieve pain from degenerative disc disease. They’ll recommend bed rest and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to ease inflammation. 

He may offer a soft collar for cervical disc degeneration to limit your range of motion and alleviate pressure on nerve roots. 

You may also benefit from physical therapy to strengthen the abdomen, back, and neck muscles. Injections of corticosteroids can also help relieve pain.

The team also offers an innovative form of minimally invasive treatment called intradiscal electrothermal therapy. During this procedure, the doctor inserts a catheter with a heating coil through a needle into the affected disc. The heat strengthens the collagen fibers that hold the disc together, strengthening tissue while destroying excess nerve fibers. 

If you don’t get relief with these noninvasive treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery. 

Options include a discectomy to remove the herniated disc entirely. A synthetic disc is then placed to restore shock absorption and improve mobility. 

Spinal fusion, in which irritable discs are removed and the vertebrae sealed together, is the last resort in treating degenerative disc disease. 

Get the treatment you need for degenerative disc diseases. Call Cascade Orthopaedics today, or use the online tool to set up an appointment.