Simply put, degenerative disc disease describes the symptoms of pain and possibly radiating weakness or numbness stemming from a degenerated disc in the spine. While the definition sounds simple, many patients diagnosed with degenerative disc disease are left wondering exactly what this diagnosis means for them.

Common questions often include:

  • If I have this much pain in my thirties, how much worse will it become with age?
  • Will the disease become a crippling condition? Will I end up in a wheelchair?
  • Should I restrict my activities? Can I still play sports?
  • Will the disease spread to other parts of the spine?
  • Will the degenerated disc(s) cause any permanent damage?
  • Is surgery inevitable?

These symptoms may result from changes that develop in the spine‘s discs and bones. For example, if a disc weakens or tears — known as a herniated disc — pressure can get put on a spinal nerve.

Nerve compression in your neck or arm may also cause symptoms in areas such as your:

  • Elbow
  • Hand
  • Wrist
  • Fingers

This can lead to conditions such as:

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis elbow

If nerve compression lasts a long time, the protective barrier around the nerve will break down. This will possibly be painful, fluid may build up, which would cause:

  • Swelling
  • Pressure
  • Scarring

The scarring may interfere with the nerve’s function, and the preventative procedures are easy, just getting realigned by a local chiropractor.

even worse…

if the discs degenerate too far, painful bone spurs may develop, and grind on one another.

Decompression therapy will also be valuable to degenerative because it takes further pressure off discs, which allows them to regenerate.

Degenerative discs may contribute to pinched nerves as well, and these are often one of the most common warning signs for degenerative discs.