what is Degenerative Disc Disease?
As an age-related condition, degenerative disc disease develops if one or multiple discs that exist between the bones of the spinal cord break down or deteriorate. Most common in patients over the age of 60, this condition can lead to a number of unpleasant symptoms if not properly and promptly treated. Acting as shock absorbers, the discs in the spine allow us to move comfortably and have flexibility. As we age, these discs start to compress and decrease mobility, causing significant pain and inflammation in the back and/or neck. When you have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease or suspect you may have the condition, there are various treatment options available to help you experience pain relief. At Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta, Dr. Christopher Williams and his skilled orthopedic team work with you to create an optimal treatment plan to provide you with optimal results. Contact our Atlanta, GA facility to learn more and to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Williams.
"Dr. Williams treated me as a whole body instead of a collection of symptoms. He listened, validated, and provided feedback. He was compassionate, informative, and forward thinking. It was by far the best medical experience I’ve had."- B.T. / Google / May 03, 2023
"This review is intended to be a 10 star review. This review is coming from a health care provider who is very selective when it comes to choosing a health care provider for my own health needs. July of this year I have had a procedure done at IOA, Dr. Chris Williams. Everything about my experience has exceeded my expectation. Dr. Williams has outstanding, exceptional clinical skills and demonstrate great deal of compassion and desire to truly help my condition. He has excellent communication skills and just very nice down to earth MD. I have experienced no pain throughout the procedure, very mild discomfort afterwards, and I am pleased with the outcome. The IOA office is beautiful, clean, calm, wonderful staff, and very welcoming. When you choose a doctor clinical skills and experience matters. However, when you find MD who is also very easy to relate to, has excellent communication skills, and just a very nice person, you got a winner. Dr. Williams and IOA, is my best recommendation for all of you who care to read this review. I have no doubt that any one of you will have the same wonderful experience I have had with Dr. Williams and staff."- A.K. / Google / Sep 02, 2022
"I was in an auto accident and went to Dr. William's office for a consultation. He performed a detailed examination and came up with a plan of action. Injections were administered and I am feeling better than I have in a long time. Dr. Williams and his staff took care of me very well throughout my procedure. I am scheduling to have another procedure to help me regain even more of my mobility and strength. If you are on the fence I would highly consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. Williams and his staff."- A.K. / Google / Sep 29, 2021
"If you are looking for a plastic surgeon, please look no further, Dr. Ellsworth is your man. I have never been treated with such care and compassion as I was with Dr. Ellsworth and his WONDERFUL staff. Suffice it to say, he gave me my life back. I had chronic pain for over 14 years as a result of a marlex mesh being used to help repair my diastasis recti hernia. My body tried to reject it and I was in horrible pain because of this. Two more “revision” surgeries were performed, but still left me with pain. I tried for years to find a surgeon to remove it, but all told me it could not be done, or they didn’t feel confident to try. I had almost given up until a doctor in San Antonio led me to Dr. Ellsworth. ANSWERED PRAYER!!! He knew my case was going to be difficult and tedious, but because he had compassion for me and really cared about my 24/7 pain, he suggested we take out the entire mesh. I. WAS. IN. SHOCK. I was never afraid, because I knew I was in the best of hands. So here I am, 6 weeks later, and I’m happy to report that I am now PAIN FREE! Dr. Ellsworth brings expert knowledge and compassion BOTH to the table! I am forever grateful!!"- B.S. / Facebook / Jun 19, 2021
"When my hope was dashed by years of severe pain and misdiagnosis and mistreatment, by drs in San Francisco, I met Dr Williams. He diagnosed my problem correctly based on a very inexpensive test and told me what I needed to do and where to go to learn about what I needed to do to get out of pain and back into the world. I’m working sure and steady towards recovery and not there yet but if it weren’t for Dr Williams I don’t know where I would be. I wish that every person in need would meet a Dr like Dr Williams. He is kind and he made the difference for me. His staff are nice and easy to work with."- L.M. / Facebook / Mar 10, 2021
what are symptoms of Degenerative Disc disease?
Degenerative disc disease may not always develop with symptoms. In some cases, the condition can lead to:
- Discomfort in the lower back, buttocks, and thighs
- Discomfort in the neck or shoulders
- Tingling and/or numbness
- Pain that worsens with sitting, bending, lifting, or twisting
- Weakness in the muscles of the legs and feet
what Causes degenerative Disc Disease?
As a result of the natural breakdown of tissue of the discs that lie in between the vertebrae of the spine, degenerative disc disease can occur as we age. When we get older, our bodies start to lose strength, integrity of muscle tissue, and ideal bone health. Therefore, degenerative disc disease is much more prevalent in older patients. When you suffer from this condition, durations of extreme pain in the back, neck, legs, or arms may occur and can continue for days or months. However, in some cases, everyday activities that include bending and/or twisting of the spine and injuries or trauma to the back can be a cause of degenerative disc disease.
what is the best treatment for degenerative disc disease?
After a disc is compromised, it is unable to be restored because there is little blood supply to the discs in the spine. However, there are still a variety of treatments available to help treat pain and manage your associated symptoms. These could include prescription-strength, anti-inflammatory medications, physical and occupational therapy, spinal mobilization, and heat/cold therapy. In more severe cases of degenerative disc disease, surgery may be your best option in order to improve your quality of life.
Degenerative disc disease FAQs
Is degenerative disc disease really a disease?
Degenerative disc disease isn't actually a disease. It occurs due to normal wear and tear and aging. When the natural cushioning between the vertebrae in your spine gradually wears out, this can result in irritation and inflammation. You may feel pain, tingling, or numbness in certain areas.
Does degenerative disc always lead to pain?
Not always. Many people live with disc degeneration for many years without feeling any symptoms. In most cases, the pain is mild, but it can get worse when you're active or at rest. If you experience discomfort that prevents you from daily activities, it's time to contact Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta to learn about treatment options.
How is degenerative disc disease diagnosed?
Degenerative disc disease is diagnosed after an examination and a study of the patient's medical history. During this appointment, we may ask you about your symptoms, previous injuries, and normal level of physical activity. Our team may also administer certain tests to fully diagnose your symptoms.
Can lifestyle changes help manage degenerative disc disease? "
Yes, lifestyle modifications can play a crucial role in managing degenerative disc disease symptoms. Regular physical exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, practicing good posture, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol can improve overall spinal health.
Is degenerative disc disease a normal part of aging?
While degenerative disc disease is more common as you age, it is not necessarily an inevitable part of the aging process. However, the discs in your spine do naturally lose flexibility and hydration over time, which can lead to degeneration in some individuals.
Are certain individuals more prone to developing degenerative disc disease?
Yes, several factors can increase the likelihood of developing this condition. These include genetic predisposition, certain occupations that require heavy lifting or physical labor, obesity, smoking, and a history of spinal injuries. Regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help mitigate these risks.
get help for Degenerative Disc disease
With many innovative treatment options available, you no longer have to suffer from the various effects of degenerative disc disease. Dr. Williams and our team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta work with patients to help them receive the best possible results to live more comfortably. Learn more about your treatment options for degenerative disc disease by contacting our Atlanta facility to schedule your initial consultation.
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