Each year, hundreds of thousands of adult patients are diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. For example, a lumbar disc disease, a lower spine condition that can cause chronic back pain.
A spine MD can recommend non-surgical treatments, such as exercise and physiotherapy. But sometimes, spine surgery is unavoidable. Or it can help to deal with the pain. Especially today, thanks to minimally invasive spine surgery.
Degenerative disc disease is a frequent pathology, even in young people. Moreover, it is one of the main causes of back pain in the adult population. When nerve root compressions occur, the clinical picture of sciatica usually joins the lower back pain diagnosis.
What to expect from your first visit
Based on numerous parameters and the patient’s visit, the spine MD will propose the most appropriate treatment. Ordinarily, the first treatment is almost always non-surgical.
It is essential to evaluate the specialist. Plus, the spine MD’s evaluation is crucial to provide the best indications and offer any clarification on your specific condition. So, make sure to ask for previous, successful surgery and procedures.
If surgery is necessary, your doctor will explain the best procedure. While it may seem like very invasive surgery, it involves a short hospital stay. Normally, the postoperative recovery is quick.
The latest surgical techniques are able to provide pain relief. Regarding the timescales, the hospital stay usually lasts four days. The resumption of walking takes place during the second postoperative day. Usually, without the use of a back brace.
Available degenerative disc disease treatments
Depending on your spine condition, the spine MD can suggest:
- Dynamic stabilization of the spine
- Spinal fusion
- Artificial disc replacement
- Targeted drug delivery
Dynamic stabilization methods have now been patented for nearly twenty years. Plus, they have been used in clinical practice for over ten years. The goal is to support the spine and stabilize it with a synthetic, dynamic implant. In other words, the osteoarticular anatomical complex is supported in its natural function. Thus, this procedure avoids imbalances between one segment of the spine and the following.
Spinal fusion is a more traditional procedure. Mainly, it makes use of bone grafts and instruments, such as metal plates and screws. But it can lead to a reduction of spine mobility. Of course, the spine MD will explain how it will affect you. Also, artificial disc replacement can be a valid option, depending on the situation.
Medicines can help with chronic pain while performing conservative treatments. For instance, they could represent a valid aid during physical therapy or chiropractic care.