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Degenerative Disc Disease

At King’s, our spinal orthopaedics team have extensive experience treating degenerative disc diseases and are highly skilled operating on patients with this condition.

What is degenerative disc disease?

The degenerative disc disease refers to an age-related condition that occurs when one or more intervertebral discs between the vertebrae break down.

Degenerative disc disease signs & symptoms

Most patients with degenerative disc disease experience constant, sharp pain in the back and neck. The exact symptoms depend on the location of the affected disc.

The signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain in the lower back, upper thighs, and buttocks
  • Severe pain that comes and goes and lasts for a few days to several months
  • Pain that becomes worse while sitting and improves while walking and moving about
  • Pain feels worse while bending, lifting, and twisting

Degenerative disc disease common causes

The causes and risk factors of degenerative disc disease include:

  • Age
  • Drying out of the intervertebral disc leading to the loss of padding and cushion between the vertebrae
  • Minor injuries and stress from everyday movements
  • Strenuous physical work
  • Obesity
  • A sudden acute injury like a fall
  • Tobacco smoking

Treatments / Surgical options

Patients who do not respond to medications and other conventional therapies may be advised to undergo surgery, especially if the symptoms are too severe.

The surgical procedures for the management of spinal stenosis include:

  • Spinal fusion or stabilization surgery

It involves fusing 2 vertebrae to provide stability for the spine.

  • Decompression surgery

It involves the removal of the part of the joint of the affected disc to relieve pressure on the nerves.

After surgery

Pain killers may be prescribed to relieve pain and discomfort. Most patients are able to go home after a few hours if the surgery is invasive.

Recovery period

Depending on the type of surgery performed, patients may need about 2 to 3 weeks to be able to resume their regular activities. Minimally invasive surgeries may reduce the recovery time.

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