Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease occurs in the neck (cervical region), low back (lumbar region), and less commonly the mid-back (thoracic region). The intervertebral disc acts as a cushion between the bones of the spine. Often compared to a jelly donut, the disc has a tough outer fibrous cover (annulus fibrosus) and is filled with a gel (nucleus pulposus) that is resistive to compression forces. As a normal part of the aging process, the gel within the disc can dehydrate causing the disc to shrink. The disc is no longer providing the same cushion effect for the spine. Sometimes this degeneration causes pain originating in the outer fibrous lining of the disc. The spinal cord and nerves can also be irritated and pain generating structures due to this process. We don’t yet understand why degenerative disc disease causes pain in some patients but not all.

Management of degenerative disc disease depends on the etiology of the pain. Our doctors will work with you to first diagnose the source of the pain and then form a comprehensive treatment plan addressing all aspects of your low back pain. Possible treatments range from non-invasive therapy such as physical therapy and medication to minimally invasive options such as epidural steroid injections. These epidural steroid injections provide significant reduction in inflammation and pain. They also help localize and confirm the source of the pain, providing diagnostic information and allowing the creation of a more well-defined and accurate long-term plan of treatment. If a patient has failed conservative, non-surgical options, it is reasonable to consider surgical intervention. We take great care to individualize your treatment so that you are given the tools necessary to get the relief you are looking for.

At Willis Knighton Spine & Pain Specialists, our goal is to reduce your pain caused by degenerative disc disease and improve your function so that you experience an increase in your quality of life. Call our office to schedule an appointment in either our Bossier City or Shreveport locations.

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