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Degenerative Disc Disease Specialist

Johnston Pain Management, P.A. -  - Pain Management

Johnston Pain Management, P.A.

Pain Management located in Jacksonville, NC, Sneads Ferry, NC, & New Bern, NC

You can develop back pain for many reasons, including degenerative disc disease (DDD). DDD is a condition that occurs with aging, affecting the structure and function of your spine. The anesthesiology and pain medicine team at Johnston Pain Management, P.A., provides effective treatments to ease the pain from degenerative disc disease. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Jacksonville, New Bern, or Sneads Ferry, North Carolina, or book online today.

Degenerative Disc Disease Q & A

What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a condition that occurs as you get older. 

Intervertebral discs separate and cushion the vertebral bones in your spine. As you get older, these discs wear down, much like the cartilage in your knees that causes osteoarthritis.

Without the cushion in between the joints, the bones in your spine rub together, causing pain and inflammation. The wearing down of your discs also makes them more susceptible to bulging or herniation, causing herniated discs. 

What are the symptoms of degenerative disc disease?

DDD develops slowly over time, and you may not have any symptoms during the early stages of the degeneration. The symptoms you have may also depend on the area of the spine involved. 

Common symptoms of degenerative disc disease include:

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • Pain that radiates into your leg (sciatica)
  • Pain that worsens when you sit, stand, or bend

Your risk of developing DDD increases as you get older. However, you may be at greater risk of developing this common cause of back pain if you have a history of a back injury, smoke tobacco products, or have a physically demanding job.

How is degenerative disc disease diagnosed?

The team at Johnston Pain Management, P.A., conducts a comprehensive examination when you come in with complaints of neck or back pain to determine the underlying cause. 

During your exam, your provider reviews your symptoms and medical history. They also perform a physical exam, paying close attention to your spine.

The team may request imaging tests to confirm or rule out the cause of your back pain, such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. They may also perform a discography, a specialized X-ray that evaluates the discs in your spine, looking for signs of degeneration.

How is degenerative disc disease treated?

The Johnston Pain Management, P.A., team customizes your DDD treatment plan based on your symptoms and the severity of your condition. They offer many treatment options to ease back pain caused by DDD.

Your treatment plan may include:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy
  • Epidural injections
  • Nerve blocks
  • Radiofrequency ablation

When pain management treatments no longer provide significant relief from your DDD pain, the team may refer you to a surgeon to discuss surgical options. However, few people with DDD need surgery.

For a comprehensive approach to back pain and degenerative disc disease, call Johnston Pain Management, P.A., or schedule an appointment online today.