The intervertebral discs – the round sections of supportive tissue between the bones of the spine – undergo wear and tear over the years no matter what we do. In other words, many adults show some signs of disc degeneration from at least age 30, a figure that increases with age. However, in a minority of people, the level of damage to the discs is severe enough to cause pain and other symptoms, in which case it is referred to as degenerative disc disease, or DDD.
If you suspect you are at risk for DDD, beginning physical therapy treatment sooner rather than later can quickly reduce or eliminate back pain and improve your outcome. JAG PT’s spine specialization combines diverse physical therapy methods to treat the unique condition of your back in a way that targets your pain or immobility and fits with your lifestyle. Schedule an appointment today or read further to learn more about the early signs of degenerative disc disease.
At What Age Does Degenerative Disc Disease Start?
The risk of pain and dysfunction from disc degeneration gets higher with greater levels of wear on the discs. Therefore, while DDD symptoms can be seen at any age, the prevalence becomes higher in older patients. According to studies, about 40% of individuals over 30 have disc degeneration that’s visible with medical imaging. Meanwhile, in the population aged 50 and up, 90% of patients have evidence of disc damage. This means that degenerative disc disease is much more common in the latter age group even though some younger people may have this condition.
What Are The Earliest Indicators of Degenerative Disc Disease?
A physical examination and an image of the intervertebral discs, such as an X-ray, are necessary to formally diagnose DDD. However, there are a number of characteristic symptoms of degenerative disc disease you should look out for – if you experience several of these issues, you should seek an evaluation for DDD.
In early stages of degenerative disc disease, pain typically comes in the form of radiating, sharp or stabbing sensations accompanied by a feeling of heat or burning. This pain usually subsides when changing positions frequently. Aside from pain, DDD can also bring about muscle tension or spasms, numbness or tingling in the extremities from a compressed nerve root, or lessened flexibility and mobility in the torso.
If you have degenerative disc disease symptoms or other chronic back pain, the empathetic, skilled physical therapists of JAG PT can help. Find a location near you or schedule an appointment– don’t delay in getting the relief you need and contact us today!