Degenerative disc disease

What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease occurs when your spinal discs experience repetitive wear and tear. The rubbery cushions that sit between the individual bones (vertebrae) that make up your spine are called the spinal discs. Spinal discs help absorb shock to help you move, bend and twist comfortably. Disc degeneration happens to everyone because of aging.

When the cushions wear away, the bones rub together. This can be painful and result in other problematic conditions, such as:

What are the symptoms of degenerative disc disease?

Most commonly, people with degenerative disc disease experience neck pain and back pain. Other symptoms may be:

  • Pain that comes and goes, lasting for weeks or months at a time
  • Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs
  • Pain that radiates down your buttocks and lower back
  • Pain that worsens with sitting, bending, or lifting

What causes degenerative disc disease?

Spinal discs wear down as a normal part of aging. Most people over the age of 40 experience some disk degeneration, though not everyone experiences pain.

Spinal disc pain may occur because of:

  • Dry out: The soft core of your discs mostly contains water. That core naturally loses some water with age. As a result, discs get thinner and don’t provide as much shock absorption as they used to.
  • Tear or crack: Minor injuries can lead to small cracks in your spinal discs. Oftentimes, these cracks or tears are located near nerves-because of this, even minor tears can be painful. If the outer wall of your spinal disc cracks open, your disk may bulge out of place, known as a herniated disc, which may compress a spinal nerve.

Who is more at risk for degenerative disc disease?

  • Older adults
  • People who experience acute injuries, such as falling.
  • Obese people
  • Women are more likely to experience the symptoms of degenerative disc disease
  • Smoking
  • People who work physically demanding jobs

Epidural Steroid Injections

Steroidal medication injected into a painful joint space can help soothe pain in arthritic joints. Injecting corticosteroids into an arthritic joint will not provide permanent relief on its own,  it can dramatically reduce inflammation and pain. The effects can last anywhere between 1 week to 1 year. Injections for joint pain are usually one of the steps taken before resorting to surgery. In some patients, steroid injections can reduce pain to the point where patients are able to participate in Physical Therapy, which in turn can strengthen the surrounding muscles and eliminate the need for further treatment.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists diagnose and treat patients with medical problems or injuries that limit their ability to take part in their daily lives. Patients will usually see a physical therapist after a referral by their primary physician. Physical therapists work with patients who have experienced an injury or disease that has affected their movement and range of motion.

At Nextgen Pain & Injury Clinic, our team of licensed physical therapists and rehabilitation experts will focus on your total health and wellness. Regardless of the cause or source of your pain, we will develop a treatment plan with your unique issues in mind.

Our treatment philosophy emphasizes evidence-based manual and therapeutic exercise techniques that are tailored toward efficiently returning patients, athletes, and employees to their pre-injury status. We treat orthopedic and sports injuries, provide spinal rehabilitation, post-surgical rehabilitation, and industrial rehabilitation. Personalized physical therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions.

  • Chronic and acute medical problems
  • Knee pain
  • Back pain
  • Leg Pain
  • Ankle pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Chronic medical problems
  • Neurological conditions such as spinal cord injuries


If you or a loved one is suffering from degenerative disc disease, know that the pain can be managed. Nextgen Wellness Group’s pain management specialists can help you take the first steps toward relief. Contact us today.


Our mission is to help patients to return to work, improve their quality of life, reduce dependence on medication and healthcare providers, and avoid persistent injuries.

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