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Degenerative Disc Disease

Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group

Neurological Surgery located in Birmingham, AL

Chronic back or neck pain that sometimes flares up could be indicative of a problem with the discs that cushion your spine. If you do have degenerative disc disease, the expert staff at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group offers effective treatment at their office in Birmingham, Alabama. To find out what’s causing your pain — and to find relief — call the office to make an appointment today.

Degenerative Disc Disease Q & A

What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease is something of a misnomer. It’s not a disease but instead, a condition that develops as a result of wear-and-tear on your spine.

Between each vertebra in your spine sits a disc. These discs act as cushions, allowing your spine to bend and move pain-free. That means they’re under virtually constant pressure — and can take its toll. Degenerative disc disease develops when one or more of your discs start to flatten and dry out as a result of all of that pressure. 

As you lose the cushioning in that part of your spine, you may feel:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness

The pain may be steady and persistent, or it may flare and feel hot and shooting. Degenerative disc disease can cause pain anywhere along your spine, but it’s most common in your lower back (the lumbar portion of your spine) and your neck (the cervical spine). 

How is degenerative disc disease diagnosed?

Your Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group doctor performs a physical exam to begin the diagnosis process. Based on what they learn during that exam, they may use one or multiple tests to determine if you have degenerative disc disease. Some of the tests frequently used in the diagnosis process include:

  • X-rays
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computed tomography (CT) scans
  • Myelograms
  • Discograms
  • Electromyogram (EMG) tests and nerve conduction studies

Once your Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group doctor has clarity about your condition, he personalizes a treatment program for you.

How is degenerative disc disease treated?

The team at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group takes a conservative approach when recommending treatment. They’ll start with noninvasive options, like medication and physical therapy — and minimally invasive procedures, like epidural blocks. 

If these early applied treatments don’t bring you relief, their expert team of surgeons is there to help. They can replace the degenerated disc with an artificial disc or fuse that portion of your spine, bringing you relief. They talk with you, explaining the different procedure options and what you should expect during your recovery with each. Together, you choose the right procedure for your body and your lifestyle.

For relief from your back or neck pain, call the office at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group to make an appointment today.