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Understanding Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is a common condition affecting a significant portion of the adult population, with prevalence increasing with age.

Prevalence of DDD

Approximately 40% of adults over 40 years old have at least one degenerated vertebral disc, a figure that rises to 80% by the age of 80. While disc degeneration is considered a normal part of aging, it can lead to various spinal issues and discomfort.

Understanding Disc Degeneration

Normal vertebral discs are thick and resilient, acting as shock absorbers between spinal vertebrae. However, with age, these discs lose volume and resilience, becoming flatter and drier. This process can result in symptoms such as neck and back pain, nerve compression, and reduced spinal stability.

  • Symptoms of DDD: Recognizable signs of disc degeneration include chronic pain, radiating discomfort, weakness in limbs, and mobility limitations.

Preventive Measures and Lifestyle Choices

While disc degeneration may be inevitable to some extent, adopting a healthy lifestyle can help slow down its progression:

  • Core Strengthening: Building strong core muscles provides essential support for the spine.
  • Regular Exercise: Daily physical activity promotes muscle strength, flexibility, and overall spine health.
  • Nutritious Diet: Consuming a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and essential nutrients nourishes spinal discs and supports overall health.
  • Hydration and Micronutrients: Staying hydrated and ensuring adequate intake of vitamin K2, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are crucial for spinal health.

Treatment Options for DDD

Management strategies for DDD range from conservative approaches to surgical interventions:

  • Conservative Management: Over-the-counter medications and lifestyle modifications may alleviate mild symptoms.
  • Surgical Interventions: Severe pain or disability may necessitate surgical procedures such as disc replacement or spinal fusion to restore spinal stability.

Exploring Regenerative Medicine

Research into regenerative medicine offers promising avenues for DDD treatment, with clinical trials investigating the use of Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC) to rejuvenate damaged discs.

If you’re experiencing persistent back or neck pain, it’s essential to seek evaluation and treatment to address potential DDD. Contact us at 212-427-3986 or book an appointment online for personalized assessment and care at NYU langone Center at the Bone and Joint Clinic of New York.

Do you live in New York or the surrounding area? Our team is ready to help you. Schedule your appointment today.