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Degenerative Disc

Wisconsin River Orthopaedics

Orthopaedic Surgery, Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy located in Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Degenerative disc disease is often the root cause of painful back conditions like herniated discs and spinal stenosis. If you have symptoms of degenerative disc disease, Wisconsin River Orthopaedics can help. At the practice in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, the board-certified orthopaedic surgeons and physical therapy team provide comprehensive non-surgical options as well as a range of advanced surgeries to resolve the symptoms of degenerative disc disease. Get relief from your back pain by calling the office or booking an appointment online today.

Degenerative Disc Q & A

What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease is a common problem, especially as people reach middle age. Most older people have a degree of degenerative disc disease, but it doesn’t always cause problems. 

In some people, however, degenerative disc disease causes back pain and stiffness and may lead to conditions like spinal stenosis and herniated discs.

The discs that cushion your spine sit between the vertebrae, absorbing shock and keeping your spine stable. When you’re young, these discs have a high water content so they’re plump and spongy. As you get older, the water content drops and the discs start to dry out, becoming flatter and more brittle.

To add to the problem, your body’s natural repair systems don’t work as well in later life. Healing and regeneration slow significantly, which further affects the health of your discs. 

The flattened discs alter the alignment of your spine and may compress the nerves, triggering radiculopathy — a common cause of back pain.

What treatments can help with degenerative disc disease?

Wisconsin River Orthopaedics provides a comprehensive array of treatments for degenerative disc disease, beginning with non-invasive measures.

Physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding tissues and improve your posture is often an effective treatment for degenerative disc disease. Anti-inflammatory medication can also help, especially if you find it hard to do your exercises.

Other treatments that can help ease your discomfort include hot and cold therapies, traction, and epidural steroid injections. If these approaches don’t relieve your degenerative disc disease symptoms after 3-6 months, surgery might be necessary.

What surgery might I need for degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease that causes disc herniation might require surgery to remove herniated material (microdiscectomy), or complete removal of the disc (discectomy). 

Following discectomy, Wisconsin River Orthopaedics can either fuse the vertebrae on either side using a bone graft or perform artificial disc replacement.

If your degenerative disc disease has caused spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine), discectomy might be necessary along with laminectomy. Decompression surgeries like laminectomy involve removing part of your vertebra to make more space for the nerves.

Whatever problems degenerative disc disease causes you, Wisconsin River Orthopaedics can help. Call the office or book an appointment online today.