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Degenerative Disc Disease - Definition, Origin, Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, Consultation

Definition of degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease is a major cause of back pain. It corresponds to a loss of flexibility and elasticity of intervertebral discs, which lose their capacity to absorb shocks. The ligaments surrounding the discs are also affected, as the bones (vertebrae). The most common and lumbar degenerative disc disease is also called lumbar osteoarthritis.

Origin of degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease is a process linked to natural aging. It is estimated that 80% of French people suffer from back pain, the causes are variable.

Some predisposing factors, such as genetic predisposition, but poor posture or incorrect movements can accelerate the process.

Causes of degenerative disc disease

Age is the main factor for degenerative disc disease. The intervertebral discs are the cushions shock absorbers between the vertebrae, and are used to absorb shock when walking, running or any other movement seeking the spine. By drying with aging, these discs lose their flexibility qualities, the ligaments that surround become brittle and ultimately degenerative disc disease causes pain, including nerve root compression. Some back injuries can also promote the alteration of records.

Symptoms of degenerative disc disease

Low back pain, or pain in the lower back are the most common symptoms. They are linked to the development of degenerative disc disease that can even lead to nerve root compression, with pain in the legs and a feeling of weakness. The stiffness of the spine, especially the lumbar stiffness, is also common, especially in the late afternoon.

Degenerative Disc Disease - Prevention

With what should we be confused?

It should not be confused degenerative disc disease and herniated discs. The herniated disc is a protrusion of the intervertebral disc, the latter out of its shell and compresses the nerve roots, producing the classic sciatic pain.
Another differential diagnosis of infectious spondylitis, that is to say, the infection of an intervertebral disc. This rare condition is characterized by constant pain, inflammatory pain is called because they occur during the day and night, and are not related to movement. Inflammatory pain is a major pain in the evening and early night and decreases after heating, it is a pain stiffness, unlike mechanical pain that is aggravated by ous support and rest.

Will it possible prevention?

As with any back pain, from simple lifestyle advice to prevent or reduce pain. Regular exercises, abdominal muscles and dorsal satisfactory (support of the spine) and the fight against overweight are essential.

Gestures and postures are the basic steps of prevention: back straight, look right, squat by bending the knees to lift a load, to provide rest periods to stretch or expand when station sitting, use straight-backed chairs and possibly swivel to avoid twisting.

Wearing backpacks is preferred to handbags and high heels more than 5 cm are recommended.

Degenerative disc disease - Consultation

When consulted?

Some advanced discopathies can cause a significant narrowing and neurological cuts. In case of very severe pain, signs of muscle weakness in the lower or even paralysis members should be consulted in an emergency.

What is the doctor?

The doctor suspects the diagnosis of degenerative disc disease on examination data (age, type of pain, rate of pain ...) and full consultation with a complete physical examination. Neurological examination eliminates one complication, and test muscle strength and reflexes. The rheumatological examination checks the mobility and flexibility of the spine.

X-rays or even a CT scan or MRI are often used to visualize lesions. The radiography and for example in case of degenerative disc disease, narrowing of the spaces between the vertebral body is visible, as well as bone defects from osteoarthritis, or "caps parrot".

Regarding remedies, most people are relieved by non-surgical treatments (exercises, physiotherapy). Medicines and injections are sometimes necessary to relieve pain.

Surgical treatment is reserved for advanced forms. A disc prosthesis with an artificial disc may come to replace the damaged disc. Another technique, spinal fusion is to weld two vertebrae together to stabilize the spine and relieve pain.

How to prepare for my next visit?

It is desirable to identify the circumstances or movements that trigger pain. In fact, your doctor or physical therapist can offer you accommodation of position or posture.

At work, the occupational physician can also help you in terms of ergonomics.

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