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I receive letters daily from patients who have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. Herniated Discs in AthletesHerniated discs in athletes are common occurrences that may impose significant restrictions on the ability to compete. DiscogramDiscogram evaluation is performed to determine if an intervertebral structure might be involved in a dorsalgia complaint.
Bulging Disc TreatmentsLearn how bulging disc treatments offer relief for intact and contained herniated discs. Smoking and obesity are predisposing factors for degenerative disc disease.  Another cause for degenerative disc disease could be as a result of an injury.
The symptoms of degenerative disc disease usually depends on the area of the vertebrae involved. Much of the pain will be at the site of degenerative changes with pain radiating to the sides of the hips.
As said earlier there may be compression of a nerve that lies in the path of the vertebrae involved. Surgical measures are also advised for those who do not benefit from conservative measures. This then opens the bones to friction against one another and it then starts degeneration of the bones.
The people who do heavy physical work (like the athletes) run the risk of developing this disease as they can face numerous small and grave injuries to their tendons, ligaments and cartilages all through their career. This patient guide explains many of the most commonly utilized therapies for spinal disc deterioration in the vertebral column.
Degenerative disc disease is a condition affecting the intervetebral disc, which serve as cushions for support, in the space between the two vertebrae. It can also affect the young, where there may be periods of severe pain brought by an acute stress or injury.


There may be severe excruciating pain, limiting one’s mobility or even the day to day activities. For such people, surgery involves removal of the damaged disc followed by fusion of the vertebrae. In this condition the person suffers not only from pain, but also from restricted movement of the joints.
Similarly where a person needs to bend on his or her knees repeatedly may also develop this condition at a later stage in life. The parts that bear most of the weight of the body are the knees and the hips. A person who is overweight puts additional pressure on these joints.
However, there is no proper reason for weight acting on these joints because these are not weight bearing joints. It may happen that some genes responsible for production of a protein called collagen, malfunction. Collagen is responsible for making up cartilage and its less production leads to weakening of the cartilage structure. The disc if prolapsed, or the formation of osteophytes could cause compression of a nerve resulting in pain and numbness. Osteophytes are bony spurs which usually develops along the margin of the body of vertebrae.
If the cervical vertebrae are affected the pain will be usually around the neck region, sometimes extending to either of the arms and hands. Conservative management often uses pain killers like acetaminophen or non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs to help relieve the pain.
While some factors may bring about the condition in a person, they may not be same for another. But some experts believe that some inflammatory chemicals are released by the excess fat tissue which in turn leads to stiffening of the hand joints. However, some food and drinks can cause fat deposition and too much intake of them can lead to obesity which can later cause osteoarthritis.


So, these people, who show this type of abnormal gene behavior, may face osteoarthritis at a very early age even if they are within the proper weight range and not into stressful activities involving the joints.
But their cartilage lining breaks down easily due to this deformity and they may get osteoarthritis quite early in their life. In one condition the joints bend more than they are supposed to bend. For those who enjoy pain free periods, the onset of pain could be caused by an injury or some physical stress like lifting heavy objects. But the experts have basically attributed the disease to the causes of two basic natures – lifestyle and genetics, apart from others.
So constant use of these joints may eventually wear them away and that may result in degeneration of the cartilage and eventually lead to degenerative arthritis. Such condition is called Double Jointedness or Joint Laxity and the people having them fall easy victims to degenerative arthritis.
It contributes to malfunctioning of the body and can become one of the indirect reasons for degenerative arthritis. Hemochromatosis or the condition where the body absorbs iron in excess proportions and Acromagaly, the condition when too much growth hormone is produced, can lead to osteoarthritis. Similarly, a joint may get injured due to some accident and from then onwards it carries the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
It does not need much elaboration that this additional burden slowly breaks down the cartilage and then erodes away the bones of these joints leading to osteoarthritis. It is crucial to know the many and serious risks of surgery before even considering an operation as a potential treatment for even the worst possible cases of DDD.



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