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Degenerative disc disease: causes and symptoms

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2021 | Social Security Disability |

Florida residents who have physical issues, such as spinal disorders and can no longer work, may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. These supplemental funds might help you pay for routine expenses and medical bills.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, degenerative disc disease occurs when the discs that provide a cushion between vertebrae begin wearing away. The cushioning acts as a shock absorber between each of your vertebrae, allowing for a comfortable full range of motion.

Causes of degenerative disc disease

As the body ages, the discs along the spine break down. In some cases, this causes the fluid contained within the discs to leak. The loss of fluid makes them less flexible and thinner, narrowing the distance between vertebrae. Tears or cracks in the disc’s outer layer may force the jelly-like material inside out through the opening. This may cause bulging discs or a rupture. It could also result in the disc breaking into fragments.

Symptoms of DDD

The blood supply in the discs is lower than in other parts of the body. As a result, they do not repair themselves when damaged. Degeneration might occur over decades or become a problem due to a car accident or other situation that causes a back injury. Symptoms may include the following:

  • Pain when standing, sitting, walking or running
  • Severe pain that lasts a few days to several months
  • Improvement in pain levels when lying down
  • Tingling or numbness in the legs and arms
  • Weakness in the leg muscles

You may experience crippling pain in the back, neck, buttocks or thighs, depending on the location of the damage. Acupuncture, back braces and pain management techniques are among the most common non-surgical treatment options. Depending on your situation, you may require disc replacement or other invasive procedures. Applying for Social Security Disability may be the next step if the pain prevents you from functioning normally.