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It's a bad ache

Sunday, Apr 06, 2008
The Star/Asia News Network

THERE are a few spinal problems besides herniated (intravertebral) disks (as a result of degeneration or damage to the disk) that will cause backache. The following are a few to note:

Degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is part of a natural ageing process that involves the gradual loss of fluid within the disk, making it brittle and prone to tears. DDD could also cause herniated disks.

Who gets it?
Degenerative disc disease is as certain as death and taxes, and to a certain degree this process happens to everyone.

Symptoms
Not all people who have DDD experience pain as a result of the disease. When DDD becomes symptomatic, patients can experience pain in the back, numbness and reflex loss in the limbs, and weakness.

Some will experience stiffness in the body, especially towards the end of the day.

Treatment
Treatment options available are medications to help relieve pain and inflammation, exercises to improve flexibility, manipulative treatment to help increase spinal flexibility and physiotherapy to help relieve pain.

For those who are unable to function due to the pain, surgery is an option.

While it is true that the disc degeneration is likely to progress over time, the lower back pain from degenerative disc disease usually does not get worse. In fact it usually gets better over time.

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