Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment in Dubai (DDD)
The term “Degenerative” is understood as a disease that increases with age; however, the term ‘’ Degenerative Disc Disease” describes the process of disc degeneration over time.
What is Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)?
The term “Disc” refers to the soft cushioning slice of cartilage or tissue sandwiched between vertebrae. When discs degenerate or undergo wear and tear, we commonly refer to it as degenerative disc disease.
The spinal discs are shock absorbers for the spinal column. The discs absorb excess pressure on the canal, protect the vertebrae, and help to provide motion. Due to genetics, excess stress, age-related wear and tear, or other reasons, the normal shape, structure and function of the disc alter. This is called disc degeneration.
Degenerative disc disease can cause various symptoms ranging from simple neck or low back pain to symptoms arising due to a prolapsed disc (such as sciatica), along with severe pain and mobility issues.
What causes degenerative discs?
Degenerative disc disease is a common age-related condition that can result in spinal pain and reduced flexibility. However, degenerative disc disease can be caused by several direct and indirect reasons. Let’s first try to understand the anatomy of intervertebral discs. Lumbar disc disease often leads to lower back pain and can cause leg numbness or weakness.
Anatomy Of discs
The discs are made of a soft inner core called the nucleus pulposus. The core is a gelatinous material that acts as a shock absorber and conditions, nourishes, provides flexibility and protects the spinal canal.
The soft inner core is protected by a hard layer known as annulus fibrosis, which protects the inner gelatinous structure while providing torsional resistance.
The intervertebral discs of a healthy young adult consist of 90% fluid, decreasing as we age. Dehydration of content decreases the gap between the vertebrae, and the effectiveness of the discs’ biomechanical properties reduces. The discs offer less cushioning and shock-absorbing capacity; as a result, the risk of wear and tear of the vertebrae and intervertebral discs increases – disc degeneration.
Disc degeneration may affect any part of the spine, but typically the cervical and lumbar spines are most involved. Cervical degenerative disc disease affects the neck area and may lead to neck pain and radiating arm discomfort. Cervical degenerative disc disease can be managed through conservative therapies like neck exercises and physiotherapy.
Symptoms of disc degeneration
Symptoms vary depending upon which disc is affected by degeneration. Some known symptoms found while treating patients with degenerative disc disease in Dubai are as follows:
- Pain in the lower back, buttock, and upper thighs if lower back discs are affected;
- Pain in the neck, shoulders, or arms if cervical spine (neck) discs are affected
- Pain worsening on sitting and improving on standing or walking
- Sharp pinching sensation while performing a specific movement
- Pain that lasts for a prolonged period. You may experience intermittent surging pain for months.
Degenerative disc disease can lead to the development of spinal osteoarthritis, causing chronic discomfort. Lumbar disc disease may require treatments such as physical therapy, medication, or in severe cases, surgical intervention.
Dr Sherief will ask several questions about the nature of your symptoms occurring and when they have started. He will also take a physical examination to assess your spinal alignment, range of motion, motor power, sensation, and abnormal reflexes.
Dr Sherief may also ask for other tests that include an X-ray and MRI and occasionally a CT scan. Some patients may also benefit from neurophysiological studies (nerve conduction studies and electromyography NCS/EMG).
Degenerative disc disease treatments often include physical therapy and pain management techniques. The treatment approaches are either non-operative or operative. Most patients get relief with non-operative measures, including activity modification, analgesics (painkillers), and physiotherapy. Sometimes injections may be of benefit.
In severe cases, surgical interventions such as spinal fusion may be considered for degenerative disc disease treatment. Surgery is typically reserved for cases that do not improve with non-surgical treatments, but the results of surgery for neck or back pain (without neurological symptoms) are largely unpredictable.
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Dr Sherief Elsayed is a skilled, highly qualified spine surgeon. He has performed successful surgeries in extremely intricate spinal cases. He is considered one of the top spine surgeons in Dubai and is dedicated to achieving patients’ holistic spine health wellness goals. Consult Dr Sherief for quality treatment of your spine.