1. Pain that comes and goes
At first, patients may not notice the back and neck pain. This is because the pain may come and go. For some people, symptoms will last for a few days. In others, symptoms persist for months at a time. As the condition worsens and the discs continue to deteriorate, the pain may intensify. When this disease progresses, patients may also feel numbness or tingling in the arms or legs.
2. Pain that worsens with movement
The pain from degenerative discs can be hard to spot. The discomfort may worsen with specific actions of the spine, such as bending, lifting, or twisting. In many people, the pain intensifies with sitting and improves with movement.
3. Pain in certain areas of the body
The hallmark sign of degenerative disc disease is pain in the neck and back. The pain can also radiate to the lower back, buttocks, or upper thighs. If someone is also experience numbness in these areas, this may mean that the damaged discs are affecting the nerves along the spine.
The goal of treatment is to decrease symptoms and relieve pain. Healthcare providers will typically start with less invasive options, such as medication, steroid injections, or physical therapy. If these options don’t help improve symptoms, the next step may be surgery.
During a microdiscectomy, a surgeon removes the damaged part of the injured disc. This can help to relieve the pressure on the spinal nerves. Sometimes, the surgeon may replace the removed disc with an artificial one. Depending on the severity of the condition, the surgeon may also opt for a spinal fusion to connect the vertebrae.
Should I have surgery?
Doctors will typically encourage patients to explore other, less invasive treatment methods before electing to have surgery. A microdiscectomy can be a highly effective treatment to provide pain relief from degenerative disc disease for some patients. Speak with a spinal specialist to learn more about degenerative disc disease and treatment options.