Degenerative Disc Disease — Overview, Symptoms, Treatments, and Other Resources.
Information on Degenerative Disc Disease at Cedars-Sinai
Nearly everyone shows some signs of wear and tear on the spinal discs as they age. Not everyone, however, will have symptoms described as degenerative disc disease. Not actually a disease, degenerative disc disease refers to a condition in which pain is caused from a damaged disc. A wide range of symptoms and severity is associated with this condition...Read more at Cedars-Sinai.
Degenerative Disc Disease at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Find information on degenerative disc disease at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Fact Sheet: Nonsurgical treatment of Back and Neck Pain
A discussion of nonsurgical treatments for back pain available at GW Hospital but applicable to treatment options at most facilities. Read the fact sheet at George Washington Hospital.
Video: Degenerative Disc Disease
Watch an animated video showing how the normal aging process causes the intervertebral discs to degenerate, diminishing their water content and thereby reducing their ability to properly absorb the impact associated with spinal movements at SpineUniverse.com.
Video: Degenerative Disc Disease Interactive
This interactive video provides information about degenerative disc disease anatomy, conditions, surgical and non-surgical procedures at Spine-Health.com.
Podcast: Disc Disease - Minimally Invasive Surgery
Minimally invasive surgery for disc disease helps patients recover a normal lifestyle much more quickly than fixation and fusion techniques. Dr. Bart Sachs describes that approach in this podcast at Medical University of South Carolina Podcast Library.
Diagnosing the back pain
Back pain can originate from many causes. In order to diagnose a degenerative disc disorder, other reasons for experiencing back pain should be ruled out. A combination of physical examination, laboratory testing , and imaging may be used during the diagnosis. View the major recommendations at the National Guideline Clearinghouse.
Treating chronic musculoskeletal injuries
Degenerative disc disease may result from an injury to the spine. Treatment of chronic back pain aims to reduce the pain to a tolerable level. Activities which aggravate the condition should be avoided. The patient should also be aware that the condition may not resolve completely. View the major recommendations at the National Guideline Clearinghouse.
Managing chronic back pain
Degenerative disc disease results in chronic back pain. Treatment options include oral anti-inflammatory medications, local anesthetic injections, and spinal surgery. View the major recommendations at the National Guideline Clearinghouse.
Guidelines for returning to work with a back injury
Degenerative disc disease may be aggravated by certain physical activities. Following spinal injury, modifications to the working environment should be made for several days or weeks. View the major recommendations at the National Guideline Clearinghouse.
Abstract: Biology of the intervertebral disc
The main function of the discs in between the bones (vertebrae) of the spine is to provide cushioning. Mechanical injury to the spine or the aging process may lead to changes in the shape of the discs. These structural differences may cause disc instability and spinal pain. View the free full text online at Pubmed.
Abstract: Emerging new therapies for degenerative disc disease
Increasing research efforts are uncovering the cause of degenerative disc disease at the molecular and cellular level. In the future, treatments of this disorder will likely seek to restore the spinal column to a healthy state by manipulating molecular processes known to mediate the condition. View the free full text at Pubmed.
Abstract: Disc replacement surgery
Surgically fusing together the discs of the spine is the gold standard treatment for severe degenerative disc disease, but it may result to decreased spinal motility. A new approach, disc replacement, may provide the same outcome, but without compromising motility. Patients undergoing spinal replacement surgery recover faster than those undergoing fusion procedures. However, the long-term risks associated with spinal replacement surgery are unknown. View the full text at Pubmed.
Abstract: Degenerative disc disease has a genetic component
Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of back pain. The condition is often attributed to injury or aging. However, emerging reports indicate that degenerative disc disease may be an inherited condition. Environmental factors are also likely to contribute to disease progression. View the full text in Pubmed.
Abstract: Gene therapy is a potential future treatment for degenerative disc disease
Gene therapy, which is the introduction of DNA encoding a specific protein directly into the diseased area, may be used in the future for treating disc diseases. Preliminary studies demonstrate that gene therapy is a viable treatment for degenerative disc disease. View the abstract in Pubmed.
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To find out who the top doctors are around the country, nonprofit Consumers' CHECKBOOK surveyed roughly 340,000 physicians to tell us which specialists they would want to care for a loved one. The Top Doctors database contains the names of over 23,000 doctors who were mentioned most often. Find top-rated doctors in the fifty largest metropolitan areas, in over thirty-five specialties, and more.
Diagram of the spinal cord
Regions of the spine
Consumers' Guide to Top Doctors finds the Doctors Rated Best by other Doctors in over 30 specialties.
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Doctors database of 23,000 top-rated
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Herniated disc (note bulge into spinal cord)
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We've got 30 million answers to that question. That's how many hospital records Consumers' CHECKBOOK sifted through to calculate risk-adjusted death rates and adverse-outcome rates, and that's just part of the data used to rate the hospitals. The organization also sent out more than 280,000 questionnaires to physicians in 53 major metropolitan areas in the United States, asking them to rate their local hospitals; checked ratings of the hospitals by surveyed consumers; checked which hospitals were providing recommended tests and procedures for patients with specified medical problems; and more."
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