Degenerative Disk Disease
Clearwater, Tampa, St Peterburg, Florida
Degenerative Disk Disease, also known as Spondylosis, is one of the more common causes of low back pain. Disk degeneration is a natural part of aging and over time, all people will exhibit changes in their disks, showing some degree of degeneration. As the body ages, the spinal disks break down, or degenerate, which may result in degenerative disk disease in some people. These age-related changes include:
- The loss of fluid in the disks. This reduces the ability of the disks to act as shock absorbers and makes them less flexible. Loss of fluid also makes the disk thinner and narrows the distance between the vertebrae.
- Tiny tears or cracks in the outer layer (annulus or capsule) of the disk. The jellylike material inside the disc (nucleus) may be forced out through the tears or cracks in the capsule, which causes the disc to bulge, break open (rupture), or break into fragments.
Unfortunately, many patients diagnosed with degenerative disk disease do not fully understand what this means for them. Some of this misunderstanding comes from the term “degenerative disk disease” itself. Most people take the word “degenerative” to mean that the problem will become worse with age. While disk degeneration will likely continue over time, the back pain from degenerative disk disease usually does not get worse. More misunderstanding comes from the word “disease,” because it is not a disease at all, but rather the normal aging of the spine.
Degenerative disk disease or Spondylosis can generate pain in one or both of two ways:
1. Inflammation, as the proteins in the disk space irritate the surrounding nerves, and/or
2. Abnormal micro-motion instability, when the outer rings of the disk – the annulus fibrous – are worn down and cannot absorb stress on the spine effectively, resulting in movement along the vertebral segment
Symptoms of Degenerative Disk Disease
- Low back pain that becomes worse with sitting.
- Activities such as bending, lifting and twisting usually make the low back pain worse.
- Walking or even running may actually feel better than prolonged sitting or standing.
- Changing positions frequently, especially lying down, helps to reduce the pain.
Treatment for Degenerative Disk Disease
Degenerative Disk Disease is a condition usually treated without surgery or invasive procedures. Proper exercise, anti-inflammatory medications, epidural injections, chiropractic care, and weight loss are all possible methods for relieving back pain due to degenerative disk disease. In limited cases, spinal fusion surgery may be an option.
Alternative Treatment for Degenerative Disk Disease or Spondylosis
An alternative treatment for degenerative disk disease or spondylosis is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell therapy, which may be effective in helping to regenerate cartilage and joints ravaged by degenerative disk disease. Platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapy are cutting-edge medical procedures that may help reverse or regenerate the destructive process effecting the joint.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy captures the healing growth factors that are in a person’s own blood. By injecting the PRP into the area damaged by degenerative disk disease, it may help heal the affected area and diminish pain. In addition, there are indications for platelet-rich plasma in healing a variety of conditions, in much the same way that stem cells may be used to help regenerate different types of tissues. Nutraceuticals may play an enhancing role with the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell technology.
If you continue to suffer with a degenerative disk disease or spondylosis and your current treatment plan leaves you feeling hopeless, perhaps a fresh set of experienced eyes can change your outlook. Since 1990, Dennis M. Lox, M.D has applied his personal interests in sports medicine, cutting-edge regenerative medicine and chronic pain management to helping patients increase their quality of life. Contact us for an appointment at 727-462-5582.
Dennis M. Lox, MD, and the Florida Spine Center serve patients within the greater Tampa Bay area, including Clearwater, Tampa and St. Petersburg, as well as all of Florida and the US. All statements, information or opinions provided by this website are provided for educational purposes only. We do not diagnose nor treat through this website or by telephone. As you consider any treatment, discuss them with your physician. Regarding platelet-rich plasma or stem cell therapy: Neither statements nor treatments have been evaluated by the FDA. We do not claim that these treatments work for any listed or unlisted condition. Patient testimonials offer only the patient’s impression of how a therapy worked for them – individual results will vary; results are not guaranteed nor warranteed. As you consider any treatment, discuss them with your physician.