Can Degenerative Disc Disease Be Caused by Trauma?
What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease is when the discs between the vertebrae of the spine break down, causing pain, weakness, and/or numbness.
Although it is one of the most common types of chronic pain, it is also sometimes a misunderstood disease as well. Notably, it can be caused or exacerbated by trauma such as a car accident, entitling you to money damages (despite what insurance companies may tell you).
Causes Of Degenerative Disc Disease:
If you were told that your degenerative disc disease is just a natural part of aging, you may want to get a second opinion. Especially if you are a relatively young individual. Degenerative disc disease is painful, incurable and life-changing, introducing an element of pain that is progressive.
Although it can occur late in life as the body’s production of collagen and proteins diminish, degenerative disc disease caused by trauma is also common.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, in addition to the natural aging process which leads to dry discs that lose shock absorbing integrity, there are two other causes for degenerative disc disease:
- Daily activities or sports injuries that cause tears to the disc’s outer core.
- Traumatic injuries that create soreness and swelling that causes instability of disc integrity.
Although a torn ligament or broken bone will heal, this isn’t the case with a damaged disc in the spine. Unlike other biological tissue throughout the body, very little blood circulates through a disc.
It cannot repair itself once injured. It can only deteriorate and may impact your neck.
There are treatment options available, yet this chronic condition can be life-long.
After The Diagnosis:
Since there is no cure, once diagnosed, a person faces a lifetime of treatment and a permanently altered lifestyle.
Not only will a person possibly face giving up physical activities that they once enjoyed, they may also be required to a significant commitment to self-care.
A medical professional will prescribe a regimen of treatment that poses the best possibility of preserving range of motion and managing pain. Some of the most common treatment strategies involve:
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory prescription medications
- Surgical options such as a spinal fusion or artificial disc replacement
- Spinal mobilization