Your spine is comprised of vertebrae that are connected by discs; these discs consist of a fibrous outer layer and a softer, gelatinous inner core. Your discs serve a vital function — helping to protect your vertebrae and absorb the shocks from common activities like walking, running, twisting, lifting, and more. As we age, these discs undergo changes, becoming smaller and weaker, or “degenerating.” While this is a normal part of aging and most people over the age of 40 show some levels of disc degeneration, degenerative disc disease is more severe, causing pain and other issues. In certain cases, it can even lead to more serious conditions.

At NJ Spine and Wellness, we offer comprehensive degenerative disc disease (DDD) treatment options that are as personalized as they are effective. We feature locations throughout the state of New Jersey, including clinics in:

What Are the Differences Between Lumbar, Cervical, and Thoracic Degenerative Disc Disease?

There are three different types of degenerative discs disease, and depending on which type you have, you may experience different symptoms.

Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease

  • The most common type of DDD
  • Prevalent because the lower back endures significant stress and strain
  • Affects the discs in the lower back
  • Causes pain in the lower back, sometimes radiating to the buttocks, legs, and feet
  • Can result in nerve sensations like numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness
  • One of the most common causes of sciatica

Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

  • The 2nd most common type of DDD
  • Can manifest itself anywhere along the cervical spine
  • Pain flares up occasionally
  • Causes nerve numbness in the neck and between shoulder blades
  • Can result in a stiff neck
  • May lead to disc herniation and other conditions

Thoracic Degenerative Disc Disease

  • The least common type of DDD
  • Occurs along the thoracic spine or at the level of the ribcage
  • Causes back pain around the site of the affected disc

Regardless of which type of DDD you have, our NJ Spine and Wellness degenerative disc specialists can create a treatment plan that can help you Get Better Faster.

What Are My Treatment Options for Degenerative Disc Disease?

Your treatment options for degenerative disc disease depend on whether your condition is moderate or severe:

Moderate Degenerative Disc Disease

Moderate degenerative disc disease can typically be treated by non-surgical or conservative methods, like:

  • Physical therapy
  • Therapeutic injections like epidural corticosteroid shots, nerve blocks, and trigger point injections
  • Rest and ice
  • Stretching
  • Massage
  • Yoga
  • Heat therapy
  • Medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxers, and opioids

Severe Degenerative Disc Disease

Generally, DDD doesn’t require surgery; however, severe cases of degenerative disc disease can be treated through surgical intervention, including:

  • Discectomy
  • Spinal fusion
  • Artificial disc replacement

Just because DDD is a normal part of aging doesn’t mean you need to live in pain.

Contact an NJ Spine and Wellness degenerative disc disease specialist to see if surgery is an appropriate treatment option for your DDD.

Can My Degenerative Disc Disease Be Caused By Trauma?

While this condition is generally a normal part of aging, degenerative disc disease can also be accelerated by trauma. Since the discs are already dried out, thin, or cracked, it can be much easier to injure them through trauma. Although a severe injury rarely starts with an accident or other adverse event, when the already degenerated disc sustains trauma, it becomes inflamed. It can even be injured or torn, creating further issues. If you have existing DDD and were in an accident, consult with an NJ Spine and Wellness degenerative disc disease specialist to discuss your condition and treatment options.

Contact Us Today for More Information

If you’re suffering from degenerative disc disease, the DDD specialists at NJ Spine and Wellness can ensure you get the right treatment for your condition. Whether we explore lifestyle changes, physical therapy exercises, recommended injections, or more aggressive treatment, we can help you address this painful condition and prevent its advancement. For more information, contact us today or schedule a consultation at one of our clinics in East Brunswick, Freehold, Matawan, or Old Bridge, New Jersey.