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Degenerative Disc Disease

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Home > Spine Surgery > Spine Conditions > Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)


What is Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)?
Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
Diagnosis of Degenerative Disc Disease
Treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease
Non Surgical Treatment of Degenerative Disc Disease
Surgical Treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease


What Is Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)?

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is part of the natural process of growing older. Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a condition in which the spinal discs start to dehydrate and shrink. Degenerative disc disease causes loss of disc height and less room between the vertebrae. This condition is usually found in the neck (cervical) and lower back (lumbar) regions of the spine. Degenerative disc disease is also called spinal degeneration or simply disc disease.

Degenerative Disc Disease, Degenerative Disc Disease Surgery


Causes of Degenerative Discs Disease

There are several possible causes for Degenerative disc disease. Sometimes discs becomes dry and shrunken due to leaking of protein from the disc. Degenerative disc disease can result from trauma (acute or chronic / repetitive), infection, or the natural processes of aging. It can euphemistically be referred to as the "grey hairs of the spine".

A risk factor is something that increases your risk of getting a disease or condition.

The following factors may increase your risk of degenerative disc disease : -


  • Age : - 30s or 40s
  • Family history of degenerative disk disease
  • Athletes
  • Any kind of Back injury


Degenerative Disc Disease, Degenerative Disc Disease Surgery, India Degenerative Disc Disease

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Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

  1. Local Pain
  2. Stiffness
  3. Muscle tingling, numbness, or weakness
  4. Restricted activity / Loss of mobility
  5. Symptom relief with certain movements or positions
  6. Radiating upper body symptoms with cervical DDD.
  7. Pain in the low back, buttocks, thighs, or neck
  8. Pain that worsens when sitting, bending, lifting, or twisting
  9. Pain that feels better when walking, changing positions, or lying down
  10. Periods of severe pain that gets better after a few days or months
  11. Numbness and tingling into the legs
  12. Weakness in the legs
  13. Foot drop (inability to raise the foot at the ankle)


Diagnosis of Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is diagnosed with a medical history and physical examination. During the exam, your doctor should check for range of motion and pain associated with the affected area, as well as any tenderness, numbness, tingling, or weakness.

  1. Blood and / or urine tests to rule out other causes of pain
  2. MRI Scan -a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body
  3. X-ray -a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body, especially the bones
  4. Discography -injecting dye into the affected spinal area of an awake patient to obtain clearer x-ray images


Treatment of Degenerative Disc Disease


Non Surgical Treatment

For acute or sudden neck pain, doctors prescribe pain relief medications such as acetaminophen, anti-inflammatory agents, and muscle relaxants. Temporary bed rest or a brace may also be suggested. Usually patients are encouraged to get up and gradually increase their activities of daily living.

Physical therapy is often prescribed, and usually includes stretching exercises to improve flexibility and extension exercises to help maintain the spine's natural curve. A hot/cold therapy and gentle massage can also be beneficial for neck pain. After acute symptoms subside (usually within two to three weeks), patients are encouraged to begin a daily exercise regimen. This may include low impact aerobics three times per week as well as daily neck exercises.

  • Injections : - Steroid injections around the nerves exiting the spinal cord may be able to provide some pain relief.


  • Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy : - Intradiscal electrothermal therapy, or IDET, involves inserting a small catheter with a heated tip into the disk. The heat causes shrinkage of the disk and deadens the disk's nerve endings. This is not yet a generally accepted method of treatment.


Surgical Treatment of Degenerative Discs Disease


Degenerative Disc Disease, India Degenerative Disc Disease, Emerging Diseases

Patients who suffer from a herniated disc, ruptured disc, or degenerative disc disease, and have failed conservative therapy are often treated with an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion. An Anterior Cervical Disectomy and Fusion has been the gold standard of treatment.

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Artificial Cervical Disc : - This procedure reaches the cervical spine (neck) through a small incision in the front of the neck. The intervertebral disc is removed and replaced with a small plug of bone or other graft substitute, and in time, will fuse the vertebrae. While Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion remains the gold standard for treatment of cervical disc herniations and degenerative conditions of the cervical spine, the use of motion sparing techniques such as artificial disc placement are under investigation world wide. Read More.

Cervical Corpectomy : - This procedure removes a portion of the vertebra and adjacent intervertebral discs, which allows for decompression of the cervical spinal cord and spinal nerves. A bone graft, and, in some cases, a metal plate and screws, stabilizes the spine. Read More.



The list of of world class Spine hospitals in India is as follows : -


Apollo Hospital Chennai Apollo Hospital, Chennai, India
Apollo Hospitals Delhi Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi, India
Apollo Hospitals Bangalore Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore, India
Apollo Hospitals Hyderabad Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, India
Wockhardt Hospital Bangalore India Wockhardt Hospital, Bangalore India
Fortis Hospital, Delhi, India Fortis Hospital, Delhi, India
Fortis Hospital Mohali, India Fortis Hospital, Mohali, India
Sparsh Hospital, Bangalore, India Sparsh Hospital, Bangalore, India
Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon ( Delhi ) , India Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon ( Delhi ) , India
Max Super Specialty hospital,  Delhi, India Max Super Specialty hospital, Delhi, India
BGS Global Hospital Bangalore, India BGS Global Hospital, Bangalore, India
BGS Global Hospital Chennai, India BGS Global Hospital, Chennai, India
BGS Global Hospital Hyderabad, India BGS Global Hospital, Hyderabad, India


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