As frightening as it would sound, disc desiccation is a widespread type of disc degeneration and infrequently a natural consequence of aging. Otherwise often called disc dehydration, disc desiccation is a gradual process that becomes an identifiable condition from the moment a patient becomes symptomatic. This implies they’re experiencing symptoms of pain, lack of mobility, and neurological problems due to their degenerative spinal discs.
Understanding Disc Desiccation
Our spinal discs are specialized, rubber-like tissue separating each vertebral bone from each other along the length of the spine. Each disc consists of a more rigid outer layer called the annulus fibrosis. A part of what makes the inner portion of the spinal disc viscous is a variety of complex sugar that draws and holds water. This viscosity is crucial in giving the physical disc volume by retaining moisture and more excellent elasticity and shock absorption. A well-hydrated spinal disc will help higher adapt to physical stressors.
This minimizes the effect of physical stress and causes fewer overall injuries. Older people develop into susceptible to back pain and spinal degeneration because aging affects the steadiness of the vertebrae and discs. Nonetheless, aging affects the viscosity of the nucleus pulposus and the structural integrity of the spinal discs. When the spinal disc becomes dehydrated enough, much of the inner portion (that viscous material) becomes replaced with fibrocartilage. This creates a more rigid, albeit less flexible and absorbent disc.
Why Does This Matter?
Spinal discs play a necessary role in maintaining the flexibleness of the spine and the gaps between each vertebra. As these gaps or spinal foramen narrow resulting from disc herniation or desiccation, the encompassing nerve roots are compressed and damaged, sending pain signals throughout the affected area. Spinal discs aren’t innervated, so that you won’t feel pain once they are damaged or swollen. Nonetheless, inflexible, slipped, herniated, or swelling discs can press on the nerves may cause sharp or shooting one-sided pain that runs through your:
- Upper back
Disc desiccation can lead to the lack of feeling in a related body part, weakness, slower reflexes, and tingling sensations. While disc desiccation is just not the one type of disc degeneration leading to nerve compression, treatment could be very different from that of a possible bone spur, vertebral fracture, or spinal tumor. Understanding what sort of problem is causing your symptoms is crucial.
What Causes Disc Degeneration?
Disc desiccation is, typically, a gradual process that begins with aging. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean it’s exclusive to the elderly. Removed from it – a study within the Journal of Bioequivalence and Bioavailability showed that over 10 percent of patients under 50 years of age presenting with back trauma also experienced significant disc dehydration, possibly resulting from recurring physical stressors. While the spine can adapt to physical resistance, overuse of the spine continues to be easily possible.
The intervertebral discs are a largely avascular body part (meaning, they don’t receive a gradual blood supply), which slows healing and physical adaptations to emphasize. As much as physical stress can contribute to disc desiccation, aging is the last word cause. That doesn’t mean that disc desiccation is inevitable for everybody, removed from it. Protective aspects slow the onset of degenerative disc disease (DDD), including disc desiccation, and help patients with existing disc problems proceed to enhance their quality of life and reduce pain symptoms.
How Does Disc Desiccation Begin?
Other than aging, disc desiccation may begin after:
- Repeated back strain.
- Physical trauma from a serious fall, accident, or incident.
- Sudden weight reduction and fluid loss, including malnourishment or eating disorders.
- During or consequently of worsening ankylosing spondylitis (a variety of arthritis that affects the spine, causing inflammation within the vertebrae).
Comprehensive pain management can effectively address and relieve disc desiccation pain and discomfort. In the event you are experiencing one-sided back or leg pain, chronic back pain, or long-lasting and severe back pain, visit a medical skilled for a diagnosis. Specific symptoms warrant emergency help, including:
- Severe nausea.
- Lack of feeling within the legs or arms.
- Lack of bowel and/or bladder control.
- Back pain coupled with a sudden fever.
Treatments for Disc Desiccation
Treatment for disc desiccation may rely on the explanation for the issue, concurrent health conditions, and potential risk aspects. Your doctor may recommend short-term and long-term pain management strategies to deal with your risk aspects and improve your symptoms. A treatment plan for disc desiccation may include:
- Pain management: A comprehensive pain management plan may include over-the-counter or prescription medication, learning which postures to avoid, improving posture and mobility at work, mobility aids, hot/cold therapy, and more.
- Physical therapy: A customized physical therapy plan, via the supervision of a trained rehab specialist, can allow you to stabilize the spine by strengthening the encompassing musculature, significantly reducing the chance of future pain resulting from disc degeneration.
- Nerve blocks and injections: Corticosteroid injections and anesthetic nerve blocks can temporarily alleviate pain by reducing swelling and directly cutting off the link between the compressed nerves and the brain. Sometimes, a specialized nerve block or radiofrequency ablation could also be vital if the compression damages the nerve. This block destroys the affected portion of the nerve and allows it to regrow.
- Spinal fusion surgery: In rare cases, disc desiccation may require surgery, including spinal fusion. A spinal fusion surgery merges two or more vertebrae into one spinal body if the disc in between is severely compromised. Spinal fusion surgery involves a surgeon removing the desiccated disc, applying a bone graft, then inserting a specialized frame. The frame keeps the 2 vertebrae stable as they heal and fuse.
Stopping Disc Desiccation
It is alleged that an oz. of prevention is value a pound of cure, which is valid for disc desiccation. Food regimen, exercise, and avoiding lifestyle decisions like smoking and drinking can mitigate the chance of disc desiccation. Despite this, disc desiccation is ultimately a standard a part of aging. Disc herniation, disc desiccation, and other degenerative disc issues are common in nearly all age groups, although often asymptomatic. Symptomatic cases develop into statistically more likely with advanced age.
We cannot keep our bodies from breaking down with time. But we will minimize these changes’ impact on our quality of life through exercise and other healthy habits. Keeping yourself hydrated, keeping your core strong, improving spinal stability, and avoiding drugs like tobacco and alcohol can reduce pain symptoms, even within the event of disc desiccation or herniation.