What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

“Disc degeneration is a natural occurrence. It may not generate any symptoms, or the pain may be so intense, that you cannot continue with your daily activities. It starts with damage to the spine, but in time, symptoms can affect other parts of your body. – And they usually get worse with age. The discomfort ranges from mild to severe & debilitating, & can lead to osteoarthritis, with pain & stiffness in the back” [1]. – So if this sounds like you, do not delay booking an appointment with an Experienced Pain Specialist

The Main Points

The rubber-like discs that are set in between our spinal vertebrae, are designed to act as shock absorbers, thereby enabling us to bend and flex our backs. However, like so many other body parts, Father Time takes his toll, and they start to degenerate, leaving us vulnerable. And when one or multiple discs break down or deteriorate, this results in numbness, weakness, and pain radiating down the leg [1].

So What Type of Treatment Can A Pain Specialist Provide?

Fortunately, there is a plethora of both conventional and cutting-edge treatments on offer, and after you have had a consultation with a Pain Specialist, who will look at your medical history, and discuss your symptoms in detail, they will devise a holistic Personalised Treatment Plan. This could include one or more of the following treatments: steroid injections (also known as facet joint injections); radiotherapy; physical therapy; or pharmaceuticals. Further, you may also be advised to lose weight, and undertake specific exercises [1].

If your Pain Specialist recommends injections tp provide you with effective pain relief, then this will involve them administering a local anaesthetic and steroids into the joints which are adjacent to your damaged disc/s. Alternatively, if radiotherapy treatment is advised, then the doctor will use a specific radiofrequency current which works to block pain signals from arriving at the brain. This is achieved by deadening the nerves which surround the facet joint. The good news is that: “patients who respond well to facet joint injections may benefit from these. And pain relief may last for more than a year” [1]. – Something that will be very welcome news for so many sufferers!

And when it comes to pharmaceuticals, your Pain Specialist will, subject to any contra-indications, prescribe NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), pain relief medication; and in some instances, muscle relaxers and steroids [1].


[1]. Felman, A. (2018). “All about degenerative disc disease.” Medical News Today.