Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease: Issues with Neck Pain and Mobility

New Jersey Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

Mar 20, 2015 @ 09:59 AM — by Aron D Rovner, MD 
Tagged with: Degenerative Disc Disease | Neck Pain |

The team at New York Spine and Sports Surgery has helped countless patients throughout the tri-state area address major issues with their spinal health. We offer state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment of neck pain, using the latest technologies and considering both surgical and non-surgical approaches to care.

Many patients who visit the practice have questions about degenerative disc disease, which is a common condition that most people face at some point of their lives. Let's take a moment to consider the nature of cervical disc degeneration.

About Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) refers to the gradual drying out and breaking down of the discs that are located between the vertebrae. These discs are intended to serve as shock absorbers for the spine and a brace between the bones.

Degenerative disc disease is a part of the natural aging process, and it tends to affect the lower back given the way that this part of the back bears the body's weight.

What does cervical degenerative disc disease refer to?

Cervical degenerative disc disease refers to the breakdown of the discs located in the vertebrae that comprise the neck.

Causes of Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

Apart from advanced age, there are two kinds of issues that affect the disc themselves that lead to the condition:

  • The discs become dry and less flexible
  • Cracks form on the outside of the disc, causing the insides of the disc to be forced out

Risk Factors for Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

The risk of cervical degenerative disc disease increases when the following risk factors are present:

  • Smoking and use of tobacco products
  • Occupations that involve heavy lifting or repetitive motions
  • Previous neck injuries have been sustained
  • Obesity or morbid obesity

Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

The most common signs and symptoms of cervical degenerative disc disease tend to include:

  • Neck pain
  • Radiating headaches
  • Soreness in the arms and shoulders
  • Weakness or tingling in the arms and fingers

In general the condition of the spinal discs can be assessed through the use of x-rays and other diagnostic tools.

Treatment Options for Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

Treatments for cervical degenerative disc disease will vary depending on the severity of a patient's symptoms. Most pain or soreness caused by degenerative disc disease can be remedied by using various kinds of over-the-counter or prescription pain medications.

Improvements in your diet and lifestyle may be recommended in order to restore mobility and alleviate the various symptoms caused by the breakdown of your discs.

In some cases, spinal surgery may be recommended to address major problems with the discs. Though rare, sometimes the replacement of a cervical disc may be the best option for the patient. Ideally surgeries should be avoided when non-surgical options would prove just as effective.

Prevention of Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is not always preventable since it's part of the natural aging process. However, its severity can be reduced and its progression halted if patients:

  • Quit smoking/using tobacco products
  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise regularly
  • Use caution when bending or lifting
  • Improve posture

Contact New York Spine and Sports Surgery

For more information about spinal cord injuries and how they can be properly treated, be sure to contact our spinal care and sports surgery centers today. New York Spine and Sports Surgery has office locations in Manhattan and Westbury, as well as offices in Fort Lee and Saddlebrook, New Jersey.