Degenerative Disc Disease Treated by Top Spine Doctors at Mercy

The Maryland Spine Center at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

At The Maryland Spine Center at Mercy in Baltimore, our spine specialists are dedicated to providing treatment options for an array of spine disorders, including degenerative disc disease.

(Degenerative disc disease - also spelled - degenerative disk disease. For the purposes of this website Mercy Medical Center will use the spelling disc.)

About the Condition

Disc degeneration, also known as disk degeneration, is part of the normal aging process. In young people, the discs are very elastic and have high water content. As people age, they naturally loose the disc molecules responsible for its elasticity and water content. This process is known as disc degeneration. 

Genetic predisposition, overuse, or injury can accelerate the degenerative process. As disc elasticity wanes and the central disc becomes soft, more stress is transferred to the fibrous tissues surrounding the central disc (the annulus). With time, fibers in the overloaded annulus begin to fail, the annulus bulges, and the disc becomes narrower (shorter).

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Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Disc degeneration can occur without major symptoms. However, when symptoms do occur, they typically include pain and weakness.

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Treatment Options

Many patients with degenerative disc disease can obtain pain relief with a combination of:

  • Short-term bracing
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy

A great emphasis is placed on finding the precise source of pain before considering surgery. If surgery is needed, our spine surgeons determine the least amount of surgery necessary to correct each patient’s disc degeneration.

At The Maryland Spine Center, the most common surgery for painful disc degeneration in the lumbar spine is a one or two level posterior surgical fusion. This surgery is well established and safe with high success rates and permanent results. Our spine surgeons are careful to select the smallest and safest procedure to relieve the patient’s source of pain.

Patients typically spend 2-4 days in the hospital and some may require an additional stay for therapy. Once home, patients are able to walk up and down stairs, take a shower, and walk around the house. A cane or walker and a soft brace often are helpful for the first few weeks while the soreness of the surgery subsides.

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Patient Stories
Maryland Spine Center at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Christine

A patient travels to Baltimore from Maryland's Eastern Shore to have surgery performed by an expert spine surgeon who she considers "worth the drive".