Degenerative Disk Disease
(Degenerative Disc Disease)
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- Increased age
- Family history of degenerative disk disease
- Athletic activity
- Back injury
- Pain in the low back, buttocks, thighs, or neck
- Pain that worsens when sitting, bending, lifting, or twisting
- Pain that feels better when walking, changing positions, or lying down
- Periods of severe pain that gets better after a few days or months
- Numbness and tingling into the legs
- Weakness in the legs
- Foot drop (inability to raise the foot at the ankle)
- Blood and/or urine tests to rule out other causes of pain
- MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body
- X-ray —a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body, especially the bones
- Discography —dye is injected into the affected spinal area to get clearer x-ray images
- EMG/NCV-a neurophysiologic test used in some cases to evaluate nerves which may be irritated or impinged on by a disk.
- Posture training
- Ice packs
- Electrical stimulation
- Other forms of physical therapy
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/
North American Spine Society http://www.spine.org/
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org/
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org/
Bogduk N, Anat D. Degenerative joint disease of the spine. Radiol Clin North Am. 2012;15(4):613-28.
Degenerative disc disease. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.csmc.edu/5757.html . Accessed July 2, 2007.
Degenerative disk disease. University of Pittsburgh, Department of Neurosurgery website. Available at: http://www.neurosurgery.pitt.edu/spine/conditions/ddd.html . Accessed July 2, 2007.
Paassilta P, Lohiniva J, Göring HH, et al. Identification of a novel common genetic risk factor for lumbar disk disease. JAMA . 2001;285:1843-1849.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/93/2012 -