Back pain can stem from many different causes. Some sufferers are born with back issues; others develop them due to age or injury. Degenerative disc disease is a result of aging that manifests more in some people than others. As we age, our vertebral discs lose fluid and can form cracks and tears in their outer membrane. These changes can result in pain and bone spurs. As disc degeneration progresses, it goes through three distinct stages.
Stage 1: During Stage 1, patients will experience acute back pain that impairs their ability to function. Everyone’s discs degenerate with age, but for some people this process is extremely painful and inhibits movement and function, while others experience no overwhelming symptoms. Usually, degenerative disc disease causes pain in the lower back, but some patients have neck pain or upper back pain.
Stage 2: Counterintuitively, Stage 2 involves an actual slowdown of symptoms. Pain in the affected area becomes intermittent. All of the stages in this degeneration process can progress over the course of many years, so this intermittent back pain may be a recurring symptom for ten or more years, often through the course of middle age.
- Stage 3: After the period of intermittent suffering and episodes, the body will eventually find a way to stabilize the affected section of the back. The patient should experience less frequent pain at this point, and may require less treatment and care. Elderly adults (those over 60 years of age) often experience less back pain than adults from ages 30 to 50 because they have reached the less painful Stage 3 of degenerative disc disease.
If you need help managing the pain associated with degenerative disc disease, Carolina Back Institute is an excellent source for back pain care and management. We provide the Raleigh and Cary area with specialized back care, trained physicians, and excellent physical therapists. Call us today at (919) 781-9950 to begin managing your back pain issues.