Call Us Today: 952-841-2345

Call Us Today: 952-841-2345

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Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of back and neck pain. The vertebrae in your spine have a soft cushion between them called “discs.” They allow your back to flex and bend while also acting as shock absorbers to protect your vertebrae.

As a natural result of aging, or sometimes due to traumatic injury, the discs start to deteriorate and break down, reducing their effectiveness as shock absorbers. This decreased amount of protection can often result in improper disc function and chronic pain.

What causes degenerative disc disease?

Over time, the discs in the spine begin to wear down. This is most commonly caused by the stress of everyday activity and overuse, but it may also result from injuries that affect the spine. As the discs wear down, they become less effective and the spine may become unstable. The body responds to this by producing bone spurs. If the bones spurs grow too large or unusually shaped, they may pinch the spinal nerves and cause pain.

The deterioration of discs can also make them more susceptible to damage. Possible results include:

  • Loss of fluid within the discs, which makes them less effective at absorbing shock forces
  • A tear in the outer layer of the disc, which may allow the softer inner layer to push through the tear, resulting in a herniated disc

What are symptoms of degenerative disc disease?

Common symptoms of degenerative disc disease include:

  • A moderate, consistent pain near the degenerated disc that may occasionally flare up to severe pain.
  • Increased pain when performing certain activities or movements that involve the area where the degeneration has occurred
  • Lack of basic support or function in the area near the degeneration due to instability of the spine
  • Muscle spasms, which can be caused by instability of the spine

The places most susceptible to disc degeneration pain are the neck and lower back, as they generally experience the most motion and wear down the fastest.

How is degenerative disc disease treated?

Though degenerative disc disease is usually a natural occurrence, there are some ways to delay or reduce the pain. At home options include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding excess alcohol intake, applying ice packs or heat pads, stretching and low-impact exercise, and over-the-counter pain medications.

If these home remedies do not provide adequate relief, Twin Cities Pain Clinic offers a variety of treatments to manage the pain.


Schedule an appointment with Twin Cities Pain Clinic to learn how we can help relieve your degenerative disc disease pain.


Telemedicine and in-clinic appointments available. Schedule today: 952-841-2345