Back and neck problems can be caused by a condition called degenerative disc disease. The name of this condition is misleading. Degenerative disc disease is not actually a disease but rather the effects of normal changes a person's spinal discs experience over time.
The spine is composed of connected vertebrae that have soft, cushiony discs between them to help a person's spine move and bend. Over time, these shock-absorbing discs begin to deteriorate, which can lead to physical problems because spinal discs do not repair themselves. Deterioration, most commonly found in the lower back, can be caused by:
- Breaks or tears in the disks, which can lead to a herniated or bulging disc
- Loss of fluid within the discs
- Traumatic injuries that cause a sudden blow to the spine
- Minor injuries
Bone spurs can also form on the spine as a result of reduced spinal padding and instability. The pressure from these spurs can lead to further pain as well as nerve function complications.
While the pain and discomfort most people experience as a result of degenerative disc disease is sporadic, short-lived and relatively minor, some individuals have severe, chronic pain that affects their normal daily lives. The symptoms are wide ranging and can include:
- Numbness or tingling
- Muscle spasms
- Limited movement or stiffness
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Leg pain
- Arm pain
- Buttock pain
The pain can be constant or only reoccur after certain activities, such as:
- Extended periods of sitting, which can aggravate the lower spinal discs
- Heavy lifting or lifting incorrectly
- Twisting or bending motions
Who Is at Risk?
Degenerative disc disease is not just a condition that occurs in the elderly; it can occur in younger adults as well. While the condition does not discriminate, there are certain segments of society that are more prone to experiencing the effects of disc deterioration, including:
- People who engage in hard physical labor
- Cigarette smokers
- Overweight or obese people
Some patients experience relief from the pain and discomfort by:
- Avoiding motions that can aggravate the condition, such as lifting or bending
- Resting in a lying down position
- Engaging in physical activity, such as walking, rather than being sedentary
- Over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen
Degenerative disk disease, in its most severe form, can make even the simplest of tasks difficult or impossible to perform. It can be ruthless on a person's home life, job and personality. When a person's life becomes debilitated because of degenerative disk disease, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) should kick in to help fill the gaps.
If you are suffering from this condition, please contact our Virginia and NC Social Security attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman today online or by phone at (800) 361-0430 to begin pursuing the benefts you deserve to offset the costs of degenerative disc disease.