Research on Degenerative Disc Disease

Topics: Pain, Suffering, Degenerative disc disease Pages: 6 (1956 words) Published: February 22, 2013
Degenerative disc disease or DDD, is in fact the degeneration of the Intervertebral disc, which refers to the fibrocartilage that lies between adjacent Vertebrae* in the spine and clusters of chondrocytes**, both being suggestive to repair. The main Cause of the development of Degenerative disc disease is aging: As the body ages, the discs in the spine dehydrate or dry out, and lose their ability to act as shock absorbers between the vertebral bodies. The bones and ligaments that make up the spine also become less flexible and thicken. These conditions become more of an issue due to the minimal blood supply to the discs, unlike the muscles; so they lack reparative powers. In this process, fibro-cartilage replaces the gelatinous mucoid material of the nucleus pulposus. Nucleus pulposus is the jelly-like substance in the middle of the spinal disc. Its function is to distribute pressure in all directions within each disc under compressive loads. While this degeneration is a normal process of aging – It is rather a ‘Condition’ than a ‘disease’ - and for some people does not create any physical issues; for others can be accompanied by inflammation, be very painful and hence affecting their life quality dramatically. This difference is mainly because some people have nerve endings that penetrate more deeply into the outer layers of their discs, producing an area more prone to inflammation and pain. Other factors that can contribute to the development of inflammation and pain, as a result of this condition, are the life styles and the different works that people do. Presumably, people who undertake heavy physical activities and put more pressure on their back, are prone to develop this condition in the earlier stages of their lives, and experience pain as the result. Degenerative disc disease can also lead to other disorders such as: • Narrowing of the canal that houses the spinal cord and nerve roots; known as: ‘Lumbar spinal stenosis’ • Disc slipping forward; known as: ‘Spondylolisthesis’ • Disc slipping backwards; known as: ‘Retrospondylolisthesis’. According to the findings of American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) more than 65 million Americans suffer from lower back pain annually. By the age of fifty, 85 percent of this population will show evidence of disc degeneration; although the vast majority of them show no symptoms related to the condition.

(2) Treatment Options
The first step in the treatment of any chronic or persistent pain is to receive a thorough medical evaluation to determine the cause of the pain. Any techniques necessary for treatment of the condition; will then be based on the diagnosis and the advice of medical professionals. Degenerative disc disease can often be successfully treated with one or a combination of treatments such as Physical Therapy, Chiropractic therapy, Osteopathic or Chiropractic manipulation, or indeed with the use of anti-Inflammatory drugs. Spinal injections could also provide relief from the pain produced. However, if pain from degenerative disc disease is severe, traditional non-operative treatment is often ineffective. In such cases, a suitable surgical operation from a list of surgical treatments available for this condition will be used. The signs that indicate the possible need for surgery include: Weakness or numbness in legs, leg or back pain limiting normal activity, difficulty walking or standing, and medication and physical therapy are ineffective within two to three months of being in use. Use of Hypnosis

Today, the important role the mind plays in chronic pain is clearly recognized in the medical literature. The International Association for the Study of Pain states that: “pain is always subjective, and is defined by the person who experiences...
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