Many people suffer with back or neck pain as a result of Degenerative Disc Disease, and there are a lot of misconceptions about what it is exactly. For instance, often times when people are first diagnosed with it they are shocked and worried that the condition will worsen over time. But this is not quite true. In actuality, Degenerative Disc Disease is not quite exactly a disease, but more like the name for a set of symptoms that are caused by a Degenerated Disc.
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What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
When people hear the term "Degenerative Disc Disease", they mistakenly assume that means their symptoms will gradually become worse over time. This is a natural assumption, because the term sounds quite intimidating, but it's not true. The reason it is called a Degenerative Disc does not refer to the symptoms getting worse, but to the process of the disc deteriorating over time.
Also, hearing the word "disease" being used in any kind of diagnosis can be very discouraging. When people hear that word they worry that it means that their ailment will be debilitating, when actually the issue is often just a normal part of aging. Everyone ages, and as people age they encounter certain health problems. Disc deterioration happens to be one of these problems; and while it is not something that happens to everyone, the severity of the symptoms can vary significantly from one person to the next.
Where does the pain come from?
Most medical professionals agree that the pain from Degenerative Disc Disease can be caused by inflammation or instability in the back. When the discs in the spine become inflamed, it often leads to pain and other back problems. Instability in the back refers to a breakdown in the discs in the spine, which leads to a lessened ability to keep the spine stable and immobile.
Both of these issues can cause spasms in the neck and lower back that can result in a lot of pain. These spasms are a reflexive action by the body to attempt to restabilize the spine.
Degenerative Disc Disease Symptoms
While symptoms can vary from person to person, some of them are pretty common among all sufferers. The main symptom is pain that mainly occurs when performing certain activities, along with flare-ups of extreme pain which eventually drop down to a more manageable level. It is also common for these flare-ups of severe back or neck pain to last anywhere from a few days to a few months. The flare-ups seem to happen during certain types of movements, such as when a patient bends over, lifts something, or twists their body.
Why is it vital to treat Degenerative Disc Disease?
For people suffering with this condition, it is critical that it gets treated because it can lead to other significant spinal problems, such as osteoarthritis of the spine, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis.
The Illinois Back Institute is dedicated to educating people, because we know that the more that you understand about your problem, the more likely you are to eliminate it.
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