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Signs and Symptoms Degenerative Disc Disease

By Debra Rodzinak

For those who suffer with back pain, identifying the source of the pain can be confusing.  Even health care professionals have difficulty agreeing on the exact definition of spinal problems like degenerative disc disease.  For example, when diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, many people are alarmed because it sounds like a “progressive, threatening disease,” but this diagnosis is not strictly degenerative nor a disease.

Degenerative Disc Disease Definition

The process of the disc degenerating over time is the proper definition of degenerative disc disease.  This spinal problem stems from the symptoms of pain and weakness or numbness due to the disc wearing away or cracking.  This does not mean that the pain will become worse with age, but the disc will deteriorate over time.  It’s no wonder that patients who are diagnosed with this particular problem are often confused.

Questions Associated with Degenerative Disc Disease

Some common questions that those with degenerative disc disease might have are:

  • Will this pain become worse as I age?
  • Will this disease be so crippling that I end up in a wheelchair?
  • Can I still participate in sports or my daily activities?
  • Will this disease eventually affect other parts of my spine?
  • Will this cause permanent damage to my spine?
  • Is surgery my only option?

The good news is that the pain from degenerative disc disease does not usually get worse over time and in many cases gets better if given enough time and proper care.  Over time, all people will experience changes in their discs, but not all will experience pain or symptoms of degenerative disc disease.

Other Problems from Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease can lead to other additional spinal conditions, such as:

  • Spinal Stenosis – A type of degeneration of the spine that can lead to the pinching of the spinal cord or nerve root.
  • Spinal Osteoarthritis – As a direct result of degenerative disc disease, the facet joints in the spine can change, causing pain.
  • Spondylolisthesis – If a vertebra becomes unable to bend or twist with the body, it is considered mechanically ineffective and can cause one vertebra to slip forward onto another.


If you are currently suffering with degenerative disc disease and are not ready to jump into surgery, come by The Joint for a gentle spinal adjustment.  Many times, pain can be relieved with a treatment plan created by you and your doctor at The Joint.  With no pesky insurance forms to fill out and appointment times to remember, finding relief at The Joint is easy and stress-free.


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