As you age, the protective discs in your spine begin to break down and lose their flexibility. These degenerative changes can cause chronic pain and limit your mobility. At Advanced Pain Management Specialists, in Baytown, Texas, as an experienced physician Jerome Carter, MD, offers comprehensive treatment plans to address progressive disc degeneration, focusing on nonsurgical options to restore your spine health. Find out more about treatment options by calling the office nearest you or by booking an appointment online today.

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What is disc degeneration?

Disc degeneration is a condition that affects the health of your spine as you age. While not everyone develops degenerative disc issues as they get older, most will experience the breakdown of the discs between each vertebra that absorb the shock of movement.

Discs are made up of a tough, outer layer and a soft, gel-like center. When the outer portion of the disc, where the nerves are, is damaged, it can cause chronic pain. If the soft center pushes through to the outer part due to wear and tear, you may also experience pain and mobility issues.

Once a disc is damaged, it can’t regenerate itself because it has a limited blood supply. As a result, your disc further wears down, which may worsen your symptoms.

What causes disc degeneration?

In addition to age-related wear and tear, you may also develop disc degeneration issues due to injury or repetitive stress, common in certain occupations and sports participation.

Reduction in disc fluids as you get older causes the disc to lose its water content, making it less flexible and unable to adequately absorb shock.

What are the symptoms of disc degeneration?

The first indication that you have disc degeneration may be persistent pain when sitting. When in a seated position, your discs have more pressure on them than when you’re standing.

You may also notice a worsening of pain when you lift a heavy object or make twisting or bending movements.

Other symptoms of disc degeneration include:

  • Neck pain
  • Low back pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Radiating pain into the arms or legs

In some cases, changing positions or taking a walk can relieve pain associated with disc degeneration.

What treatments are available for disc degeneration?

If rest and over-the-counter medications aren’t enough to relieve the pain of disc degeneration, Dr. Carter may suggest physical therapy to reduce compression on the nerves due to damaged discs.

If pain becomes debilitating, Dr. Carter may recommend epidural steroid injections. This type of treatment delivers anti-inflammatory and anesthetic medications to numb pain and reduce inflammation.

Dr. Carter also offers spinal cord stimulation therapy, which involves implanting a small device that disrupts your pain signals from the spine to your brain. Stimulation therapy allows you to externally control your pain to provide long-term relief.

Find out which treatment is right for you by calling the office nearest you or by booking an appointment online today.