Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease Overview

Degenerative disc disease refers to vertebral disc changes with age. These changes include:

  • Disc cracks
  • Disc drying
  • Disc height decrease

Moderate to severe degenerative disc disease can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms. An appointment with a Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) spine specialist ensures quick and long-lasting symptom relief.

Symptoms & Causes

Degenerative disc disease presents as:

  • Pain in the buttocks, lower back and/or thighs
  • Pain that comes and goes
  • Pain when sitting
  • Pain associated with movement
  • Extremity tingling and weakness

Age is the cause of degenerative disc disease. An accident, injury or osteoarthritis can cause early-onset degenerative disc disease.

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options treat the majority of cases of degenerative disc disease. After a thorough evaluation, a CONA shoulder specialist may recommend:

  • Activity modification
  • A brace
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy

Minimally invasive spine surgery may be recommended to treat severe degenerative disc disease. Disc abnormalities are corrected and vertebral anatomy and function are restored without cutting large back muscles. Patients experience less postoperative pain and recover faster.


A CONA specialist:

  • Obtains a complete medical history
  • Performs neurosurgical and physical examinations
  • Orders and analyzed x-rays and an MRI
  • Makes an accurate diagnosis
  • Prescribes an effective treatment plan

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