Degenerative Disc Disease

  • Back pain
  • Radiating pain to your buttocks, thighs, shoulders, or arms
  • Pain that worsens with activity, such as twisting or walking
  • Pain that worsens with activity, such as twisting or walking
  •  Leg muscle weakness

The degree of the pain you experience with degenerative disc disease may vary from a dull, annoying ache to chronic disabling pain.

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What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease, also known as spondylosis, is a chronic condition that affects the discs between each of your vertebrae. Like the cartilage in between the joints in your knees and hips, the discs that separate the vertebrae in your spine dry out and shrink so there’s less cushioning in between your bones.

Without the cushioning of the disc, your spinal bones rub together and may lead to the development of bone spurs, spinal stenosis, or a pinched nerve. The degeneration can occur in any part of your spine, but most often affects the lumbar spine or lower back.

How do I know if I have degenerative disc disease?

Dr. Reeves determines if your back pain is related to degenerative disc disease after an examination and review of your symptoms. He may also recommend an MRI to view your spine and the health of your discs to assess the degree of your degeneration. 

How is degenerative disc disease treated?

Dr. Reeves takes an individual approach to care and develops a treatment plan for your degenerative disc disease based on your symptoms, other underlying issues related to your spine, and overall health. In most cases, Dr. Reeves recommends less invasive treatments before turning to surgery.

Your treatment plan may include:

·        Physical therapy

·        Weight loss

·        Anti-inflammatory medication

·        Heat and cold application


If you’re unable to control your pain with conservative measures or your pain worsens and is affecting your quality of life, Dr. Reeves may suggest surgery. The type of surgery you need depends on the severity of your degenerative disc disease and the extent of nerve involvement.

For management of your back pain and degenerative disc disease, call Midwest Orthopedic and Spine Specialists at 636-777-8010 to schedule an appointment to see Dr. Reeves.


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