Degenerative Disc Disease
With age and activity, the discs located between the vertebral bodies lose their elasticity and wear down. They usually function as shock absorbers in the spine and provide normal motion. As they degenerate, the vertebral bodies collapse down onto each other and patients experience back pain and possibly radiating pain into the arms or legs. This can be difficult to treat as restoration of the normal disc height and consistency is not possible. Initial treatment of therapy and medications focuses on core strengthening and flexibility to improve posture, strengthen the back muscles and take pressure of the discs in the spine. If this is unsuccessful, certain patients do benefit from spinal fusion surgery of the degenerative disc or newer treatments such as artificial disc replacement.