Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment in and around Atlanta
What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease is a misunderstood condition, despite being one of the leading sources of back pain and neck pain. This condition is not actually a disease -- it is part of the normal aging of the spine. In this condition, the discs in the spine (the pillow-like pads between the bones) lose their cushioning. When this happens, it can cause persistent pain in the lower back, legs, neck or arms.
Cervical degenerative disc disease treatment can include medications and physical therapy. Sometimes neck or back surgery is needed if the pain is severe and causes a person the inability to participate in everyday activities.
Cervical disc degeneration is a common cause of neck pain, most frequently felt as a stiff neck. Cervical degenerative disc disease is much less common than disc degeneration in the lumbar spine because the neck generally is subjected to far less torque and force. Nonetheless, a fall or a twisting injury to the disc space can aggravate or spur degeneration, and accumulated wear and tear on the disc over time can also lead to neck pain caused by disc degeneration.
Pain and Symptoms
In addition to having the low-grade pain of a stiff or inflexible neck, many patients with cervical disc degeneration have numbness, tingling, or even weakness in the neck, arms, or shoulders as a result of nerves in the cervical area becoming irritated or pinched.
The general treatment for cervical degenerative disc disease is largely the same as for degenerative disc disease in the lumbar spine. That is, conservative care (no-surgical) is recommended as the primary strategy and surgery is only considered if a concerted effort at conservative care fails to provide adequate pain relief or a patient’s daily activity has been significantly compromised.
Patients may find relief by applying ice or heat, using medications to control pain and inflammation, and exercising the neck and shoulder areas (alone or with the help of a professional familiar with neck conditions) to relieve stiffness and maintain flexibility. In addition, neck appliances or traction may be prescribed
If pain is not relieved adequately with six months of conservative care and daily activities become difficult, surgery may be considered. Specifically fusion may be recommended to stop the painful motion of the affected cervical vertebral segment. This entails removal of the disc, decompression of the nerve root, and insertion of a bone graft or a plastic cage device to help maintain or reestablish the normal height of the disc space as well as neck stability and alignment. A cervical plate is used to promote fusion between the two vertebrae. Cervical disc replacement is also an excellent option for the surgical treatment of painful cervical disc disease. Dr. Bendiks is trained in both advanced neck fusion and disc replacement techniques. Please Contact Us to see how Dr. Bendiks can help you