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Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a term to describe the effects of aging or trauma on the discs on the spine. This term is somewhat misleading in that it is typically identified on radiographic studies (MRI scans) and is not a true disease.


The vertebral discs are “cushions” in the spinal column that supports weight and allows flexibility of the spine. Over time, the discs can wear out as a result of trauma, infection or the usual aging process. There is fluid loss within the disc and the decreased height reduces its cushioning effect. The body weight and bending pressures are transferred to adjacent structures like the little facet joints in the back of the spine.  The lost height of the shrinking discs narrows the space where the nerve roots come out from each side at the level of wear.


Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

Patients may experience symptoms of pain in the neck, back, hip, and groin that gets worse with twisting or bending backwards, or they may also experience a burning pain in the legs that gets worse with walking. This occurs when the nerves at the degenerative level are irritated or “pinched”.


Treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease

There are many effective treatment options available that will target the associated symptoms depending on the source of your pain. While degenerative disc disease can not completely be prevented, there are certain factors that have been known to contribute toward acceleration of degenerative disc disease. To help slow this progression, it is important to maintain a healthy body weight, stop smoking and have good spine mechanics with lifting.


The ultimate treatment would consist of treating the facet joints that are more stressed and the possibly pinched nerves.  After anti-inflammatory medications and possibly physical therapy, specific interventional procedures are available to target those painful joints and/or nerves.

Communities Serviced - 

Dr. Faubel has helped patients with low back and neck pain from nearby Crystal Lake, Lake In The Hills, McHenry, Huntley, Dundee, Gilberts, Carpentersville, Woodstock, Wonder Lake, Barrington, Prairie Grove, Cary, Spring Grove, Genoa City, and Elgin, Illinois.  Patients have come from as far away as Rockford, Illinois, and communities in southern Wisconsin and western Indiana.

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