The vertebral column protects the spinal cord and consists of 33 vertebrae. Intervertebral discs separate each of these vertebrae. The discs offer flexibility, support, and shock absorption to your spine.
Degenerative disc disease can be a cause of lower back pain—which affects between 60–70 percent of people in industrial countries around the world. The disease affects your spine as it loses its ability to support your weight and maintain flexibility.
The intervertebral discs have a sponge-like ability to absorb spinal stress making movement easier. Deterioration and dehydration of these discs leads to debilitating back pain limiting your mobility.
Common Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease
The most commonly-cited cause of disc degeneration is age. Studies suggest that about one-third of people aged 40–59 years experience degenerative disc disease; these numbers increase as age increases.
Daily wear-and-tear and repetitive tasks can cause tears in the outer layers of the disc which may permanently alter the structure of your discs. Overuse of the spine by people involved in sports or lifting heavy weights can lead to the degeneration of their spine regardless of age.
The Relation to Trauma
Acute injuries and trauma sustained by the spine can accelerate the degeneration of your spine.
The role of your intervertebral discs is to act as a cushion between your vertebrae and absorb shocks that result from daily functioning and trauma. Cracks or tears in the thick outer layer of the disc leads to a loss of the jelly-like substance within them. This loss of fluid reduces the disc’s ability to maintain flexibility or withstand shocks.
Sudden injuries often lead to disc herniation and start the degeneration of your discs. Injured or degenerating discs cannot heal on their own since they don’t have a blood supply.
Intervertebral discs become inflamed when they sustain trauma and cause instability in your spine. The space between the vertebrae diminishes when the nucleus begins to lose its water content. The reduced disc height exerts stress on the vertebrae and leads to radiating pain that affects other regions of your body.
This is why traumatic automobile accidents and sports injuries can lead to lasting spinal ailments.
Trauma plays a vital role in exacerbating existing disc degeneration and causing the weakening of your discs.
Get Adequate Help after Sustaining Trauma
Degenerative disc disease may occur after a traumatic injury, but the symptoms may not manifest immediately. If you’ve experienced a back injury due to an accident or other trauma, be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible.
An experienced spine specialist Houston that specializes in neurological and spinal disorders can assess, diagnose, and treat the painful symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease.
The experts at Houston Neurosurgery & Spine conduct a variety of diagnostic tests and physical examinations to suggest the most effective treatment plan for you. Their non-invasive conservative treatments and minimally-invasive surgical treatments provide you with the relief you need to alleviate pain and discomfort improving your quality of life.