DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE
Degenerative disc disease is a term used to describe the normal changes in the spinal disc as you are getting older. The spinal disc plays an important role in your spine. They act as shock absorbers for the spine, allowing it move, bend, twist and flex. The spinal discs are compressible discs that separate interlocking bones or vertebrae that make up the spine. Degenerative disc disease can take place throughout the spine, but the most common occurrence happens in the lower back or the lumbar spine and on the neck of the cervical region.
These changes can often result to back pain or neck pain or more:
- The breakdown of the cartilage tissue that protects and provides a cushion to the joints or medically called osteoarthritis
- The abnormal bulge or breaking open of a spinal sac called herniated disc
- The narrowing of a spinal canal or spinal stenosis. The spinal canal houses the spinal cord
The above conditions can greatly affect the spinal cord and spinal nerves, which leads to pain and possibly affects the nerve function all throughout the body.
The cause of degenerative disc disease is often caused by age. As a person ages, the spinal disc starts to break down or degenerate resulting in degenerative disc disease. It also includes more age-related changes such as:
- Loss of fluid in the discs resulting in less flexibility and no longer act as shock absorbers
- When tears and crack occurs in the outer layer of the disc the nucleus or the jellylike material inside the disc will be forced out through the cracks, causing the disc to rupture
This conditions and changes can usually affect people who smoke cigarettes and those who do heavy physical work.
Falls may also contribute to these changes and can start the degeneration process. Also, the growth of bone spurs can contribute to the pressure applied to the spinal nerve root which leads to pain and affecting nerve function.
If you think you are suffering from Degenerative Disc Disease you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Degenerative Disc Disease as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).