What are the treatment options for degenerative disc disease (DDD)?

The main goal of treatment for DDD is to ease pain and stop more damage. Your doctor will suggest the best plan for you, based on your symptoms and how serious your condition is. Treatment may include:
  • Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen can help fight inflammation. They can ease your pain and lessen swelling. Your doctor may prescribe a stronger drug for pain if you need it. Degenerative disk disease may also lead to muscle spasms. Your doctor may suggest medicine to help relieve them.
  • Physical therapy: Specific movements make the muscles in your neck and back stronger and more flexible. This supports the spine. In most cases, physical therapy and pain medication are enough for long-term relief.
  • Steroid shots: These have strong medications to ease pain, swelling, and inflammation. Your doctor may suggest you get a shot in the epidural space in your back, a fluid-filled area around the spinal cord, or get one in your nerve or muscle.
If other treatments don't work, your doctor may recommend surgery. One procedure, called a discectomy, removes the injured part of the disk. This helps take pressure off your nerves.
In some cases, your doctor might remove the whole disk and put an artificial one in. If you have a severe problem, your doctor might fuse (permanently connect) the bones in your spine after he removes the disk.
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  • "5 Treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease." SpineUniverse, SpineUniverse, www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/degenerative-disc/5-treatments-degenerative-disc-disease.
  • "Degenerative Disc Disease." Cedars-Sinai, www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/d/degenerative-disc-disease.html.
  • "What Is Degenerative Disk Disease?" WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/back-pain/degenerative-disk-disease-overview#2-5.



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