How to Diagnose Degenerative Disc Disease
There are few things in life more disagreeable than the pain one experiences from Degenerative Disc Disease. When it strikes and it strikes often, it hurts, either in the lower back (lumbar region of the body) or in the neck (cervical area).
This is not a recently-discovered ailment. It has been around for a long, long time. Thousands and thousands of people have suffered its debilitating effects. And the causes of Degenerative Disc Disease are well-known in the medical community.
So it should come as no surprise that physicians have little trouble diagnosing this dreaded, but not deadly, ailment and suggesting effective treatments for it. If you find yourself suddenly suffering from lower back pain or discomfort … or pain and/or stiffness in your neck, you may be experiencing the early stages of Degenerative Disc Disease.
Now, it needs to be said that Degenerative Disc Disease is not really a disease at all. It’s a weakening or a break (yes, an actual break) of the discs that separate your vertebrae and essentially hold your spine together to give you freedom of movement.
Advancing age … years of strenuous or heavy lifting and physical labor … chain smoking … obesity – these are all factors that lead to Degenerative Disc Disease. You can’t see the “disease” causing you pain and discomfort, but you can certainly feel it. And … it doesn’t feel good.
Fortunately, your personal physician has the ability to diagnose – and treat – this type of painful and debilitating ailment. When you visit your doctor and complain of lower back or neck pain, he or she knows immediately, that your problem may be related to Degenerative Disc Disease. In fact, your physician will start by asking about the pain or discomfort you are feeling. Then, after some tactile probing (touching the area that hurts), your doctor will take x-rays of your back and/or your neck to see if you have a disc problem.
This is a common way of diagnosing Degenerative Disc Disease … and it is effective, as well. If you have a “bulging disc” or if your doctor spots some other disc irregularity, he or she will suggest treatment that involves the use of powerful, pain-killing prescription drugs. In most cases, these drugs can help you control the pain and discomfort you’ve been experiencing so that you can continue on with your life … your work … your social encounters … the day-to-day living that characterizes your personal schedule.
In most cases, prescription drugs will solve your problem and prove that your physician’s diagnosis was absolutely correct. However, if your Degenerative Disc Disease problem has advanced to the point where your pain is unbearable, your doctor’s diagnosis may lead to a trip to the hospital for you … and a spinal fusion operation that will alleviate and end the pain that has dominated your daily existence.
Those are the two possible solutions, each brought about by your doctor’s correct diagnosis of your back or neck pain – a problem known as Degenerative Disc Disease.